I am always astonished and pleasantly surprised by the quality of the music to be found on the streets of Paris. Whether it’s the classical musicians and opera singers to be found under the arches of the Place des Vosges in the Marais, the jazz bands in St Germain des Prés, the street musicians in Montmartre or the buskers in the Métro, street music fills the air of Paris. Street music is an old tradition out of which emerged Edith Piaf who began her career by singing in the streets of Paris. I wonder how many others will rise from the streets of Paris to the world stage.
Whether is legal or not to play music on the streets in Paris is a difficult question to answer since, as with almost everything in France, the regulations are shrouded in the fog that is French bureaucracy. What is clear though, is that street musicians don’t have the right to ask for money. If you choose to reward a performance by street musicians by dropping some loose change into one of the boxes that adorn every street musicians pitch then that is up to you but the musicians can’t ask you to or even suggest that you might. It’s one of the sad facts of life that whilst many people watch and listen to street musicians performing and obviously enjoy it, a large number walk away without leaving some token of their appreciation. Whether it is legal or even wise to try and record street musicians is quite another matter!
I am currently building this “Street Music” page which will include some of the recordings I’ve made of street musicians mainly in Paris. Over the coming weeks I will add more sounds to this page ranging from individual players standing on street corners to outdoor music festivals and all points in between. So, if street music is what you want to hear you won’t have to trawl through all my posts to find it.
Here we go then! Enjoy! And feel free to leave me a comment about anything you hear.
All the recordings are recorded in binaural stereo. To get the best effect you should listen with headphones.
1. A recording made at the summer jazz festival held in La Défense in 2010:
2. Another recording made at the same festival:
3. Singers in the Church of Saint Séverin. Not exactly street musicians but amateurs nevertheless. This is a favourite of mine.
4. South American buskers inside the Metro station Châtelet:
5. Jazz from the Jardin du Luxembourg: A group of six jazz musicians having fun on a Saturday afternoon.
6. A Harp in Montmartre: A man playing a harp in the shadow of Sacre Coeur
7. A Street Organ: A man making a little organ sing and singing himself in the rue Mouffetard
8. More Jazz From the Jardin du Luxembourg
9. Edith Piaf “sound-alike” in Montmartre
10. A brilliant accordionist in the Metro Bastille
11. A jazz trio in rue Mouffetard
12. Music at the Christmas market in La Défense
13. Street Music in the Place des Vosges
14. Street Music in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine