Street Stage Berlin
The city of wall-breakers and mural painters.
The city of raging artists, of rave vampires and the no-sleep empire.
The city of Bowie-fever and of hope believers...
(Don't worry, I will stop the "rhyming" now).
I had the experience of living in Berlin on and off during this last Summer. Every time I walked through the city's streets, I could feel an electric energy, an ever-changing artistic vibe. (Can you tell I like it?) The weight of history is still there, the rebellious smell of freedom still lingers. The walls are cracking with graffiti, the cafes filled with young people from a variety of countries discussing all sorts of subjects and ideas. And through all this, something really caught my eyes, my ears.
Music. Amazing-stop-rushing-and-listen kind of music.
In the picture (back to front): an Australian bass player (Max), an American clarinet player (Mike), a German drummer (name unknown) and a beat-box rapper from Brazil (Zicamen/Felipe).
Now of course you are thinking, "well, in basically every city in the world you can hear street music, what is so special about this place?" Honestly it's a bit hard to say. Maybe I was more attentive to it now than before when visiting other cities. Or maybe I was lucky enough to hear some really talented people. But somehow it feels different in Berlin. Someone starts playing with a little amplifier by the entrance of the U-bahn station and suddenly you have a crowd of people dancing or just sitting down on the floor, having a beer with friends, enjoying the street sound. The streets in Berlin are true stages and the Berliners make for a great audience, as it seems. When the fire starts, there is no way to put it out. If police stops a performance one night, you can expect a party with more people and musicians at the same place the next day. Anything can happen here. And I mean literally anything. (Check out this party that started in the U-bahn station one night).
A man dances to DaianaLou's music. For people that have to live in the streets, music is a breath of fresh air, something that keeps them going.
Now why did I decide to write about all this? One really hot and dry Summer day and I was off taking some photos across the city. The afternoon was coming to a close and I had decided to try out this swimming-pool on the river (yes, you didn't read it wrong) nearby Schlesisches Tor. I went to the nearest station when I saw this guy sitting down on the floor and rapping his heart out. A green bucket in front of him read the name "Infidelix". I had seen him a few weeks before already and was surprised by how his voice captivated so many people that stopped and listened. And when he announced that he was from Texas and had been performing in European streets for some years, my curiosity made me stick around for the end of the performance and ask him for an interview. This is how it all started! From then I interviewed many others and saw so many good performances that I had to start a little series about it. (Click their names to see their facebook pages).
A rapper from Texas who decided to travel Europe with his music. Don't be fooled by the glasses, he's still a badass.
The British Angus and Julia Stone. Acoustic couple from Manchester, newbies in Berlin that quickly gained quite an audience with their beautiful harmonising voices.
Londoner and rapper all the way, a true party T-Rex with a captivating and electric dancing energy. (You'll see what I mean when you watch his video interview).
Former music school student from NZ who decided to try his luck in Berlin. A looping guitar and a great raspy voice that warm up your ears.
Brazilian performer who mixes talents in beatboxing, rapping, singing and a sense of humour in a loop station. The one-man party.
Trombone player from France who has been travelling through Europe. A natural born improviser, invites people from his audience to play or sing with him, remixing the joined sounds like a pro D-jay.
A rocking duo from Italy fighting to make their dream a reality - recording their debut album. Their performances shine with feeling through Lou's jamming guitar and Daiana's raspy soulful voice.
There are of course many more artists out there, but these are the ones I was able to capture. You can expect a video interview from each one to be released throughout the next months. Now, I must say that probably the thing that surprised me more about these musicians is the connections that exists between them. Many times I saw different artists that I had seen solo before, deciding to join in another's performance and jamming together. That for me shows how dedicated they are to the music. And how amazing it is when you can watch it happen right in front of you.
In truth, these guys became my heroes. They play all day, every day and never seem get tired. They are living purely for and from the music. It's a beautiful thing to see... Who knows, maybe the next time you hear from me I will have grabbed my own guitar and joined them in the streets of Berlin. And then, we could be heroes, just for one day. After all, isn't music meant to be heard and shared?
The city where music is made regardless of competition by new 'round the world musicians, making it their mission to brighten up passengers' days... Oh Berlin I shall praise.
Text//Photos//Videos: Carlota Caldeira