Street musicians are, in my opinion, quite few in number in Antwerp. Especially if you compare it with other ‘big cities’ such as New York, London or Paris, for example. There you will find a new Bob Dylan, Neil Young, BB King or Amy Winehouse on every street corner. Sometimes you hear disconsolate pinging or toe-curling singing, occasionally your mouth falls open at a weeping guitar solo or a voice like a clock.
In the vast metro stations of the aforementioned cities, entire classical ensembles, hip-hop, dance or blues bands regularly approach you. Far away or close by, between the screeching trains, music can be heard everywhere and always.
In Antwerp this remains limited. In the subway stations there is a sacred silence, on the street people from distant countries sometimes play an accordion, banjo, ukulele or hurdy-gurdy, in the hope that we will give them a few euros and help alleviate their bleak existence. Or a man rolls his mobile piano up the Meir during Christmas. We usually have to deal with that.
But on a sunny day, very recently, this young man landed on the quays of the Scheldt, on the blue stone, hidden behind the old Loodswezen. Improvising on his guitar with pre-programmed beatbox and synthesizer sounds. A one-man band that served bluesy lounge music. Beautiful and relaxing, fanning out over the Scheldt.
He played for the fourteen historic cranes, for the casual passer-by and for himself. Money gain did not seem to be his motivation.
And he played on a Fender Stratocaster. Not on a Gibson or a Gretsch, but on a Stratocaster. Like Jimi Hendrix., Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Kurt Cobain, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer and Ritchie Blackmore for example. Or Raymond van het Groenewoud.
Website www.frankraes.beInstagram @frankraesbrasil