In no way i could imagine i would have caught into the busking activity of KL so quickly. On the second evening since my arrival to the city me and Amir we ‘ve got a gig in club called “Lust”, in Bangsal, and right after that, the following morning, together with his girlfriend we where heading to the city once again, looking for an audience. We left Chinatown in what i call “the musician’s morning” around 2PM, heading to the main market of Pasar Seni.
When we finally manage to get to the main market area, and Amir finds out a good spot, we need to get the hour permit in order to set up, but apparently it might take too long and we decide to move to another spot where no permit is required, but the facade of the pasar Seni is so nice that before leaving i have to take a snapshot of it.
So we decide to go to another spot in the city centr, not too far from the market, where you can play for an hour without paperworks. We get there, ask the security guards if it’s ok for us to play, and once they say yes, we set up right in front of a big modern shopping mall.
Despite my last 2 years of full time busking in the Uk, this is the first time i do this in Asia, plus purely acoustic. On one hand, this is a great way to busk, maybe “the way”: no leads, batteries, extra weight or “dangerous” volumes. You can easily set up and pack in few seconds and look for a better spot if something does’nt work or you are told to move. On the other hand, there’s a feeling of vulnerability to it: the environment is busy and loud and you feel very naked without the protection that an amp and a mic often provide. The first song, then another one; a Malay tune to warm people up, than a Bob Marley number with good vocal harmonies and then the new busking hit from MM, “Miss Malaysia”, the famous Jimmy Cliff ska song, adapted for the occasion. Slowly people seem to get closer, they sit on the stairs in front of us, some are clappin hands and smiling and many are taking pictures and videos. Amir seems to be dealing with the heat pretty well, but i feel like i’m melting and sweating like a man working in a furnace.
People don’t seem to understand that the open guitar case at our feet is what we use to collect offers, so in a sneaky way, while singing, amir manages to let them know, and all of a sudden, people are coming to us, dropping ringgit and saying thanks..! I even manage to sell a CD to a girl..!! After an hour we spot another busker who is waiting for his turn so we pack our stuff and make a move, but once we reach the security staff, they ask us to keep playing as they say, they really liked what we do ! We’re glad to hear that and promise we will be back soon..!!!
Before going to our last spot, we stop for a refreshing drink in a very old Chinese restaurant, the Capital Cafe famous for his Kopi Susu, apparently the best in the city. The place is pure old school Chinese style, full of memorabilia and history: these are the things i travel for..Satu kopi Susu please..!
Once we get to Bangsal i understand why this is a must for the local buskers. It’s a new area full of shopping malls, boutiques, offices and banks, plus all the services for the people working there, such bars, restaurants and night clubs. Here we go then!
In this place we are not supposed to set up in one spot and wait for the offers to come. Here you are not a busker, but a “stroller”; this means you have to stop in front of a bar or restaurant, take your guitar, play 3/4 songs and collect the money passing through the tables. It takes guts, but it’s the only way out..! We cross the busy road and head to the first place.
We play in a couple of spots and when the night falls we do this little restaurant packed with locals: here’s the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK6ciYBedSg&list=UUVISCvy9TQO8ZGss-86YWgg&index=1&feature=plcp At the end of the day, we sit down waiting for a taxi back to Chinatown and do what every street artist in the worl has ever done, count and split the earnings. These are the first money i ever earnt with the music in Asia..!!