On the 23rd January, I met Chris Duckett at the Firefly Open Mic night in Worcester. We connected really well through our love of busking and performing every chance we get, I discovered he was on a busking tour, lives in his van and is staying in Worcester for the week – straight away I knew this was going to be a great friendship!
I performed my guitar/bass one-man band, Chris loved what he saw, and straight up gave me a bunch of festival dates for some main stages he helps organize! Then Chris performed and silenced the whole room, magical sounds from his percussive spaceship! It seems to be a rare sight to see and hear a HandPan live, and Chris sure knows how to play it (at this point he’s been playing it for 3 weeks!! 3 weeks!!!!).
Video from Firefly Open Mic – Night I met Chris
The next day we hit the streets of Worcester together and busked all day! Chris’ busking spots were very interesting, as a new busker to the place I guess he didn’t really know the core busking spots, but the place he chose was incredible, under shelter in this tunnel perfect ambiance for his instrument and music, a place I never thought of using before, but will when the rain hits!
I’ve learned a lot about busking from Chris since meeting him, the main thing being persistence and playing longer – he was busking from 9am to 2am most days! – with breaks obviously, something like 9-11am 12-2pm 5-7pm 9-11pm 1-2am (Worcester clubbers loved his music during these hours!). So much busking each day! His energy definitely passed onto me and my love for busking has only increased!
Busking spot Chris found, sheltered from rain, his original song – Singing
Being a rainy day in Worcester, we busked here until 4pm. Our friend Jake Marsh (who lives on a boat and runs a gigging boat club during summer), offered his place to shelter from the rain, so as three musicians, we jammed, on a boat, it was a lot of fun! Below is the outcome! It’s a mix of an original song by myself and vocal lines from an original by Chris.
After all the jamness with Jake on his boat! We hit the hay for the day and met up again in Worcester the following day for more jams! Adding a member to the jam – Cookie – beatboxing master!
Being it Friday we busked the night whilst people were on their way to party! We got a little crowd going and met a lovely woman who wished we’d had got together as a trio sooner to play at her wedding! She was loving it, dancing with her kids, from this we basically forced to give this trio a name – The BeatBassPan – CookieDuckettField – Waves – Sounds of Waves – The Waves – Sounds of Zephyr! = decided! And so Sounds of Zephyr was born! We jammed so much that night, later around 10pm we were joined by some more beatboxers and rappers, we had a little crowd judging a beatboxing battle going down between Cookie and Jack Goodwin.
From the jams we had, I took all the ‘good’ bits and compiled it onto a Bandcamp album, a live recording demo of our jams! My trusty Zoom Q2HD recording and rocking strong – this has been one of my best purchases as a musician, I record pretty much everything I do and the quality is insane for such a tiny recorder, I highly recommend if you’re wanting to get rough recordings of gigs, busking, rehearsals, sampling found sounds etc etc.
So here are the tracks!
My favorite has to be ‘You Wanna Be Friends?!’, it’s featuring Jack Goodwin, who is both an excellent beatboxer/rapper/spoken word and amazing human being! Whilst jamming this I got pumped with energy and was dancing around like a lunatic, feeling high on music and life! The video below was taken during this jam!
Having too much fun busking with the gang! I love busking and I love just playing a groove on the bass, so this was a lot of fun! We had a lot of energy and dancing going on all night! Super excited for more night busking jams like this.
Moving on from the trio beatboxing/handpanning madness, me and Chris spent some time hanging out, planning travels, booking gigs and jamming some duo material. We found a warm place by a fire with tea, eating vegan pies and jamming on the house piano –
It’s fun to just jam and let the music flow out! Especially when you connect so well with someone musically, the songs and music just pour out. We must have written about 10 songs as a duo in the tiny timeframe we’d met.
So this was just before we went busking as a trio again for a big night busk. We found this really cool open square surrounded by restaurants, there were lots of people hanging around drinking. We managed to play for an hour before we got shut down by security as we had complaints from a very hidden Travelodge, it was in no way an aggressive shutdown, as the security guard brought us out tea and gave us a fiver! He actually seemed bummed out that he was told to shut us down.
We separated that night for different musical adventures, I and Cookie went off with a gang of Worcester musos for a big jam on Jake Marsh’s Boat House, while Chris went and busked! From 12-2am! He said it was some of the best busking he’s ever done!
The next busking session we went to my hometown of Kidderminster, not busking there for a while it was nice to bring my new set-up of guitar/bass! My ‘regulars’, townpals, Kidderminster fans, I don’t know what to call them erm, – the extremely generous and friendly people who donate and chat with me everytime I busk in Kidderminster – really loved what they heard and was intrigued by the additional guitar, they all asked about the Europe trip and asked about my next destinations, the connection with these people is amazing! They’re so loving!!!
Later when Chris came down, they loved that too! We jammed through some new tunes and did some big ambient jams, like this one;
And here’s the final jam we did before Chris drove off towards the Midlands to carry on his busking tour! This is my most favorite thing we did as a duo and was highly inspired by Nizlopi (a joint favorite artist of ours whom we’d love to gig with!). It ended on such a high positive note and was the perfect way to end our first run of busking jams together, we’ve planned so much for the summer, for busking adventures and for the future of Sounds of Zephyr.
Meeting and jamming with Chris has uplifted me both spiritually and musically, motivating me to busk more and to give more time to aid people. It’s opened up a whole new path to walk down. I feel our paths aligned at the right time, as both our life goals are quite similar and we’ll be able to lift each other closer to these goals.
So yes! Thank you, Chris, for everything you’ve taught me the past couple of weeks, I’m super excited for more writing sessions and more busking adventures!