Sing it cool, Eli

It’s always comforting to see Eli Harris out in the Syracuse elements playing his music.

Before the game, he sings and plays.

Before the game, he sings and plays.

The singer and guitarists knows the Syracuse University athletic schedule.

Carrier Dome patrons are serenaded, sweetly, regularly, through cold and sometimes really cold.

Elijah Harris and I go way back, to my decades as the music writer for the big daily. He’s a street musician with style, flair, chops, personality. And CDs. The Syracuse University students studying music have released his work on several CDs.

Have case, will travel.

Have case, will travel.

Harris has had his ups and downs in life. I’m always happy to see him out there again and still, doing his thing, guitar case open for contributions, other possessions at the ready for a move to the next outdoor gig.

Do you stop and listen to street musicians, and why or why not? Do you know the story of any street musicians in your part of the world? What’s the best street musician performance that you can recall, and what were the circumstances?

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22 thoughts on “Sing it cool, Eli

  1. I always listen, because music! There’s a trumpet player that comes around downtown when the Christmas lights are on for the season, that just adds to the spirit of it all 🙂

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  2. Thank you for this Mark..yes I often stop and listen, smile and pay for the privilege to do so. We need More music in our daily lives and we need to appreciate the musicians who provide it for our withering souls.

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  3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a street musician in downtown Buffalo. Just as well – people here aren’t all that friendly. Sure, strangers will help you dig out (or push out) your vehicle after a major snows storm, but otherwise, I think everyone just keeps to himself or herself.

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  4. I think I got immune to it, growing up on Austin’s Sixth Street. Musicians were everywhere, too many too close to focus on one. It was enough, coming at you, wanting tips and attention. Now that I’m in the burbs, there are no streetside musicians. And my trumpeting son has become quite the busker at Christmas. He’ll go to Whole Foods and don his Santa hat and play carols and make some keen tips. But for myself, I’d rather just sit and listen to music at a restaurant and tip as we leave. The main thing I always do is to make SURE TO CLAP. I hate it when nobody claps. It makes me sad. Perhaps Harris does it more for his soul than for the tips. If you have music inside you, you have to let it out.

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    • Bravo for your son having the spirit to share the music like that already, Kerbey. And the tips are nice, too. And clapping at a restaurant is pretty key. My musician friends appreciate the bread at those gigs, sure, but the attention from patrons who admire their work just as much. I know because they’ve told me so many times. 🙂 ❤

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  5. I always loved the musicians on the sidewalks in Chicago. There are less than there used to be, at least where I walk. I figure that is because you have to buy a license now and it is 200 bucks. I think the city is less for it. The musicians were working for the money and they really add beauty to the city.

    My favourite street performer was one my son and I came across a few years ago. They are a mobile puppet theater, on a bicycle. Very entertaining, funny, and people liked them. I was able to find a picture for you.

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    • That’s a very cool mobile show, Rose. Thanks for sharing the photo here! I agree with you. Chicago is the loser for charging street musicians for a license. Penny wise, pound foolish, as they say.

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  6. One of the great things about LA is that you can hear so much good music for free. I rarely get out now, but even with my limited rounds, I manage to bump into great experiences. At the El Dia de Los Muertos celebration at the Autry, there were two guitarists–Latin/jazz fusion, I guess I’d call it–who were worth stopping for.

    And their music and playing skills were fine, too. (Ba-DUM-dum!)
    😀

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