April 14, 2013

Granville Island Buskers

On a beautiful spring weekend Granville Island is home to crowds of people, thousands of sea gulls, and a few buskers. The buskers are, by far, the most entertaining. So one day at the Market we sat down, had a coffee or two, and enjoyed acts by two of them.

Stephen Spender is a singer-songwriter with a strong voice and interesting interpretations of songs of other artists and a collection of his own. He seems to let his songs speak for themselves and doesn't offer much in the way of talk between them, though I'd like to hear some of his thoughts about what he has written. Great vocals, nice guitar and songs that resonate through a variety of emotions. Polite and appreciative, Stephen smiles and says thank you when people buy his CD from a box at the front of the "stage."

Eden Cheung is a magician with a hilarious rapid-fire commentary on people and events, and he knows how to work a crowd. Idealistic and obviously well-informed, Eden's take on ethnic relations in Metro Vancouver, and his comments about various nationalities, with the emphasis on what makes us different, or the same, are sharp and funny. Midway through his act he ran up to an older man of Chinese-appearance and exclaimed "Dad! You're out of prison!" Then, returning to his "stage" he said, "It's okay, we all look the same to us too." Not to be outdone, the magic at Eden's grand finale is wonderful. How do those oranges appear under the hat? Or the water melon?

Both buskers remind us of one of the reasons why we love this city, and because Stephen and Eden, and others too, provide great entertainment we need to be supportive. Would it hurt anyone to applaud or offer thanks with some toonies or a five dollar note? Artists like these buskers enrich the city with laughter, music and wonder. Next time you see a show, don't just walk away: offer your appreciation with applause and more. It's a good thing to do and it's one of the reasons we love this place.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2013.

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