Subway Music from Around the World

You know those guys who play the saxophobne in the subway? Well, the other day we came across a talented underground musician and decided to investigate further to find out what other hidden gems are harmonizing beneath the streets. It turns out, those guys are all over the world; playing mandolins in the metro, electric guitars on the el, and tubas on the tube. (I made that last one up, but it’s probably true.)

In most parts of the world it’s called “busking,” defined by Wikipedia as “…the practice of performing in public places for tips and gratuities.” Some people might call it “annoying.” But in every case, it’s not wrong to simply call it music. And some of these subterranean musicians are immensely talented.

Since we couldn’t hop on a plane and start traversing the globe for our search, we were limited to YouTube — which actually turned out to be quite effective. What you find below are some of the finest examples of subway music, or busking from around the world. Some are in the stations, and some are on the trains themselves. They are all quite interesting.

Moscow, Russia. These gentlemen play classical music of the highest caliber. I’m not certian, but people are commenting that this is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp7rfs1Nn48[/youtube]

Seoul, South Korea. This is an actual underground band, Los Andes. It’s music from the Andes, Chinchaysuyo. How cool would it be to see this on your way to work?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ7ggse6-1c[/youtube]

Paris, France. Paris is famous for musicians playing in the stations and on the trains themselves. This is Volare.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ_0nEpg_yo[/youtube]

New York, United States. New York is truly a melting pot. This is Norteño music, from northern Mexico.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYMorYIqqz4&feature=related[/youtube]

Chicago, United States. I’m proud to have these guys in Chicago. They capture the essence of this great city. Here’s It’s Alright.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59C805nwAkI&feature=related[/youtube]

London, England. This guy should be in a jazz hall. But then London commuters would be deprived. Here’s Sixteen Tons.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5xPQrcVGqs[/youtube]

Prague, Czech Republic. Another underground band, of sorts. Incredibly elaborate — but I wouldn’t want to be commuting hungover with this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTmUOxAdjxA[/youtube]

Budapest, Hungary. Well known in the region, this is Club Era. Seriously this doesn’t look easy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ori4AIYzaQs[/youtube]

Stockholm, Sweden. These gents do it the old-fashioned way — simple harmonizing and no instruments. Starts at about the 25-second mark.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvOcd5yc1zI[/youtube]

Montreal, Canada. I’ve never been there, but this guy seems entirely appropriate for Montreal.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7l819txDbM[/youtube]

There are surely plenty more out there. Do you have a favorite in your city? If so, we’d love to see them. Share a link below or, better yet, get out there and record them, and then let us know. We’ll post your locals in an upcoming Sound Citizen post!

In the mean time, here are three more that we didn’t want to leave out.

Budapest, Hungary. Playing glasses.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfRa4dBhPVE[/youtube]

Tokyo, Japan. Only in Japan…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY08fJ8LDTs[/youtube]

Philadelphia, United States. A little soul in Philly. Anthony Riley has a voice, and apparently a following.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy0isHB-pOc[/youtube]

New York, United States. Reggae in Union Square.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oogX-MVXK9g&feature=related[/youtube]

4 thoughts on “Subway Music from Around the World

  1. Pingback: Gerrys Blog » Blog Archive » Flash Delirium | New MGMT song, “Flash Delirium”, unveiled « Consequence of Sound

  2. Hirsch Cutlass

    Are you freakin’ serious? those guys in the chicago vid played my cousin’s wedding!

    Subways are great for getting your sound heard and it projects pretty well… who knew this was a worldwide phenomenon.

  3. Mike

    It’s pretty wild. I love seeing people get captured in a moment with total strangers in an unexpected place, on an unexpected day.

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