The youngest busker at the Sentosa Buskers Festival 2013 is Shannon Boesch, a 10-year-old girl who forms a singing duet, “Way Past Curfew” with her 12-year-old brother, Christian.
We decided to interview our very own brother and sister busker team, the Off Beaters, Joyce and Casey Chan from Singapore!
Q: Share with us your busking act.
A: We are a brother-sister duo who plays the violin and guitar, ukulele and piano. We play a wide range of music on acoustic instruments, ranging from classical pieces to oldies to pop and mashups. (Casey: Personally, I like Korean songs as I feel that they inspire positive attitudes and fighting spirit, with much more meaningful lyrics.)
Mashup is a unique mix of two or more songs, merged into one. It is something that we are sure that people of our generation would enjoy. All the pieces that we play (with exception to the classical pieces) are impromptu, or through improvisational which is the results of our jamming at home. For more complex renditions, we arrange the sheet music for our work, making our work one of a kind. We do make some of our sheet music available online, and you may check out our work at http://www.youtube.com/newmusiclife1
Q: How long have you been busking?
A: On our trip to New Zealand last November, we actually recorded covers, or performances, at various scenic locations in public. We found performing outdoors a liberating experience. We only applied to busk in Singapore July this year, and started busking in August. We’re very grateful that we can be part of the Sentosa Buskers Festival 2013. It provides a very unique experience to our busking journey.
Q: What got you into busking?
A: The experience and response we received from sharing our music overseas inspired us to share our music here in Singapore, thus we got into busking.
Casey: I have actually been performing in public at concerts since young as a concert violinist, playing mainly classical pieces. However, after playing in the open, I thought that busking would enable closer interaction with the audience, which I thought would be something refreshing and more engaging. After positive response to our music from people here and abroad, we further affirmed our desire to busk. During my school’s Gap Semester, I thought that I would make use of this window opportunity to experience something special, and busking was just that.
Q: What do you enjoy most about busking and what do you hope to achieve busking?
Joyce: After many moments of regular, repetitive, robotic practicing music at home, busking has provided a means to play music freely and express for all to hear, and this freedom of expression is what we enjoy. We hope to achieve to inspire young musicians in Singapore to go beyond practicing Classical music and applying their talent to improvisation, and thus play a wider variety of music and learn to have fun with it.
Casey: After regularly practicing the violin daily for more than 10 years, I felt that it was time to get out of the routine, and try something new with the violin. After all, I enjoy playing renditions of my favourite songs, and thought that it would be nice to share these renditions with the public here in Singapore. Many local young musicians practice their instruments for the sole purpose of passing graded examinations, and what we hope to achieve is to let these young musicians see that music is not just about intensive, routine and sometimes even grudging practicing, but that music is a tool for personal expression and communication with the audience.
Q: What are some challenges you experience in busking?
A: Limited number of locations was one challenge. Another difficulty we faced was amplification of our performances. We use acoustic instruments because they produce more refined sound and musical details. Hence, we had difficulty finding an amplifier that could present such sound and musical detail well. We found ourselves in a situation where we did not have an amplifier to mitigate effects of background noise. However, even if we did use an amplifier, microphones aren’t able to pick up a certain range of sounds as well as others.
Sentosa Buskers Festival is from 7 to 15 September, 4:30pm to 10:30pm daily.
Come support your local buskers at the Sentosa Buskers Festival and catch them in the act.
You’ll be contributing to charity as well when you visit the island as Sentosa Leisure Group is pledging $1 for every Island Admission ticket between 9 and 15 September to the Children’s Charities Association (CCA), as part of its annual Sentosa Gives charity initiative. This includes admission to the island via the Sentosa Boardwalk, Sentosa Express, vehicular gantry and Singapore Cable Car.
Till our next post, love yourself, love one another.