Who knew I would someday be riding the rails with James Brown?
Over the years, as I have traveled here and there—with a lot of there—I have been lucky enough to have encountered a number of magical musical moments, albeit on a much smaller scale than depicted in this next video.
If you don’t read a word of this blog post past this point, I suggest you take a few minutes to watch this wonderful video of how a simple street musician morphs into a major musical flash mob on the streets of Sabadell, Spain.
For me, as I think back to a few years ago, while I was on a month-long sail up the west coast of the Mexican mainland, I recall how lucky I was to have happened upon a couple of quite unexpected, yet marvelous musical moments.
The first was while walking the streets of Barra de Navidad, a charming town along the Pacific Ocean, which offers a real feel of old Mexico, but is a striking contrast to the Grand Bay Hotel, just across the lagoon, with multi-million dollar mega-yachts docked just feet away from split-level swimming pools, complete with water slides camouflaged as waterfalls.
It was there where I happened to cross paths with a small group of musicians, who were wandering the town playing Mariachi music. They “let me” reward them for my listening pleasure with a six-pack, or two, of cerveza.
Unbelievably, a second chance encounter of a musical nature found me at the same port of call, while I was riding on a locals’ bus from the Barra up to the quaint city of Melaque, when a guy got on and started playing his guitar, while singing and whistling tunes I only wish I new the words to.
It seemed that the majority of what appeared as the locals were mostly indifferent, which just may have been to avoid feeling any obligation to offer the requisite tip.
Here is a regrettably poorly shot video that I took during that bus ride. Please excuse the awful wind noises as I panned the camera out the open window, and then back to the musician.
But, maybe my favorite impromptu performance occurred on a crowded Paris metro train. As I sat studying my Rick Steves’ guidebook, from the back of the underground subway car I heard, of all people, James Brown belting out, “I feel good.”
As I spun around, a young man had placed a blanket between two vertical handholds, whipped out two puppets and had them performing to the voice of The Godfather of Soul, which was emanating from his boombox.
Again, it seemed that the majority of what appeared as the locals were mostly indifferent, which just may have been to avoid feeling any obligation to offer the requisite tip.
Or, maybe in both cases, these were just a bunch of wannabe music critics.
With my lifelong love of music—as I sit here listening to RadioParadise.com—but a complete inability to carry a musical note any further than I can lug a grand piano, I am naturally drawn to drum circles, street music, and wherever else I can pick up someone else’s tune.
When I stumble onto one of these wondrous musical interludes…or maybe even better, when one finds me…well, it makes my day, and often becomes one of my travel’s special moments, which forever links me to that time and place.
So, do tell, where have you gotten your groove on unexpectedly?