Music has long been regarded as a means of communication for people from very different social or cultural backgrounds, according to a study by Laiho S. in 2004. For the performers, music is also a manifestation of “the self”. What’s more hip for me to share with you then the current music lifestyle in Hong Kong!
In the field of music, there is a particular lifestyle known as “Busking” in Hong Kong, they are groups of music performers going street to street and provide musical performances in Hong Kong. It is interesting looking into the local busking performances and the mentality of the people who perform on the street. I’m very grateful to have interviewed a local busking band a while ago and therefore studied the current situation of busking bands in Hong Kong.
Busking has a long history but they are largely undocumented before 20th century. Yet, it can still be dated back to antiquity when it is a very common means of employment before recording appeared. Now, busking is a vibrant street culture that is practised and welcomed all over the world. It is a highly engaging music that buskers can get the immediate and spontaneous reactions from audience and their music actually influences people. It is down-to-earth and authentic, at the same time one will experience a thrill no matter one is from the member of audience or performer. A shared experience and a unique bond are also formed through the busking performances.
In Hong Kong, busking is blooming. With the rise of indie bands joining the showbiz, such as Mr., Rubber Band and Kolor, more people start to discover and pay attention to indie bands and their music in Hong Kong. Yet, not many people in Hong Kong really appreciate busking bands which are not in showbiz and popular by now.
Nevertheless, when it comes to busking, it is interesting to note that this creative art is very different from the rest of the creative industries in terms of the nature of the performance. Usually for a form of industry, it often requires a certain qualification to be deemed worthy or suitable for a certain industry, and it usually generates revenues. ‘Busking’, however, has no limitation – it is an act that is practiced all over the world by men, women and children. Whist it may not even be considered to be an industry or taken seriously by some in the society – this industry has much potential to develop and there are a lot of things going on behind the door, from what people know and talk about they are just touching upon the surface. For instance, we learned from the band that I interviewed that there is actually an organized community that supports people who practise busking in Hong Kong; and there are social workers dedicating their time and effort to help these people, they would organize events for the performers so they get the opportunities to engage and enjoy their dreams; practically they will provide supports such as studio booking and professional guidance for people who are interested in busking.
It’s a lovely sight to know of such a supportive community, knowing that there really are people working so hard for their dreams, and people taking their time to help each other on the way. This is what Hong Kong is supposed to be like, this is what the world is supposed to be like.
Check out Part 2, it’s coming soon!