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Just Keep Singing: The Evolution Of Buskers In Malaysia

Doing what they can to survive.


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Just Keep Singing: The Evolution Of Buskers In Malaysia
Image: Rojak Daily/Shahridzuan Azali
Ten years from now, the world of busking might be a whole new realm. The advent of technology is forming an evolution which goes only one way - further!

We're familiar with street entertainers. But how much do we know about where they're headed? We'll soon find out.

Busking was once nothing more than simple acts like juggling, mime and, the most common in Malaysia, singing. Today, buskers are transiting to greater heights as they take their performances from the streets into shopping malls.

Some performers remain authentic with acoustic guitars, delivering evergreen songs in ever-modern settings. What a great combo!


With the advent of technology, we also have singers who give that extra “oomph” with amplifiers and gadgets. Authenticity and technology. That, ladies and gentleman, is evolution!

Gone are the days when buskers need to be physically present to share their music. With social media like YouTube, the entire globe is their stage.

From Street Performers to Mall Entertainers

Moses looking good in checkered top!A cup of Americano. That’s all it took for Moses, or his full name Moses Santa Maria, to paint a story of how the world of busking is evolving into a whole new industry.

A Portuguese busker from Malacca, Moses is singing his way (literally?) towards his dream.

We’ve all heard about street entertainers. Now, this 58-year-old busker wants to create a new division for mall entertainers. Places like Avenue K are already moulding such platforms.

The urban stage of buskers at Avenue K.Hold your breath, people! It’s just a matter of time before Moses turns that “business plan” into reality. So you have a list of jobs - engineer, doctor, financial consultant - but what’s missing? Toss in busking!

In this era, busking has grown into a career. With a background in advertising and public relations, Moses has a rock solid foundation (like pokemon Golem, if you will!). He has even worked with celebrities.

Yeap, don’t let him catch you looking! (Just kiddin’).
And today…busking becomes his calling. From something which gave him air to tap out of depression after his wife passed, busking has now become Moses’ career. The society has started moving away from the perception that buskers are merely hoping for money and Moses, for one, wants to further nurture that understanding.

Yet another reason why this industry is blooming every other day.

The Free-Spirited Girl

Oh, the songs she plays with her guitar!
This 20-year-old girl couldn’t have chosen a better time to embark on her own journey of growth.

Nur Syafiqah (Ika) left her job to pursue her passion in busking full time. Through her love for indie alternative and classic rock music, she wants to make music for the betterment of the world. You go, girl!

Hit the backspace button and we’ll go back to a time when the Malaysian backdrop was painted with male buskers singing from one table to another. Now we have people like Ika ready to escalate to greater heights. She started off a shy girl, performing at KLIA in July 2017. But now, Ika is ready to step on new grounds, meet new faces and perhaps sing new songs.

Ika in action.The depths of busking is getting deeper and deeper when singers like Ika share more than just songs. The connection crafted between Ika and the crowd is what gears her up.

The authenticity of street performance is her accelerator and with her vision of uniting people through her singing, she could very well be the entity that pushes the industry that much further. Imagine if all buskers travel from one end of the world to another, spreading love through music notes and vocal chords, wouldn’t this world we live in be a globe of peace?
 
Ika’s inspiration comes from the likes of South African traveller and busker Alice Phoebe Lou and for the likes of us, Ika would definitely be an inspiration. She represents buskers who are indeed advocates in this millennial setting.

Connected and Connecting

The Chor’s Buskers - the couple who made singing their daily routine.The contours of the busking realm is changing and now, we have married couples singing in unison. The Chor’s Buskers is the perfect example. Evolution isn’t something that can be achieved overnight, is it? And it takes sweat, tears, BLOOD….okay, not blood. Just being a little melodramatic there. 

Well, it takes more than just a good voice and some instruments to alleviate busking to a new level. Good for this couple, being married to each other is definitely a plus point. Abot (wife) uttered that she and her husband can even discuss music while cooking in the kitchen. See how that works? With team work like that, how can they not go great lengths?

Among other places, The Chor’s Buskers performs at Avenue K. This laid-back, inspiring couple walked down memory lane as they shared how their stage was merely beside a burger stall and food kiosk in Wangsa Maju and Setiawanga. Now, they get to share positive waves, as Abot called it, with passers by in shopping malls.

The World They’re Creating

Busking has emerged to be more structured, with performers tuning their songs to the crowd’s preferences.

Looking back, buskers would have tapped into their comfort zone, sharing songs closest to their hearts. Not to say that buskers these days are mere pleasers. Oh, not at all folks. But they are transiting amid this growing industry.

They learn what people love and they sprinkle a little bit of their magic on those choices. Buskers of the modern world are not only performers, their innovators. Inventors of a brighter future for street and mall entertainers alike.
 
Contact Details
Moses - 019-2855225
The Chor’s Buskers - 017-3801604
Ika - Syafikah Aznan (Facebook)

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