My soundtrack to Berlin

In my short time as an intern in Berlin, one of my favourite things has been experiencing the street musicians of the city up close. For every musician I’ve seen, shitty or exceptionally good, I’ve stood like a mystified tourist in front of them taping their every move and sound with my camera and trying to make them feel like rockstars. I’ve swayed to their music and danced to their drums. To me these people really are the true rockstars of the city. Because it takes a lot of guts to stand in front of a random crowd and play your music.

And when exotic music echoes through a deserted U-Bahn station late at night, streams through the lush trees of Tiergarten and Mauer Park in the early morning and takes over the chitter chatter of the tourists at Alexanderplatz at mid day, it transports every tourist into another world. You no longer need your ipods and your carefully selected playlists that you made back home, because these artists have already offered you a soundtrack to the city.

So when locals (Berliners) pass by street artists without even acknowledging their presence, it really pisses me off.

You see, these entertainers are really important to us tourists because not all of us will get the time to go to the bars and clubs of the city. Not all of us even have the money to spend on bands and entertainers at clubs. So what these people are doing for free (almost) is highly appreciated.

So next time you see a twenty-something girl blocking your way and standing stupified with a camera in front of a street musician, try to understand the magic of that moment.

That jazz musician has made that girl’s day when she’s homesick, and that accordian player has made her feel right at home with his music.

So stand with her in the crowd for a minute and take it all in, because in that moment Berlin doesn’t get any better than that!

Random musicians I heard along the way

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