Busker in running for once in a lifetime trip

Joe Strouzer

Joe Strouzer - Credit: Archant

A Homerton street musician is in the running to win the trip of a lifetime, thanks to an online platform to connect buskers around the world.

Joe Strouzer of Blurton Road is featured on Feeling the Streets – a new website by Toyota which allows buskers to upload videos of themselves for public vote.

The six buskers with the highest votes will win a trip to New Zealand, where they will embark on an epic nine-day tour as a super band.

Joe said: “The response has been cool I’m really enjoying the site and I’m seeing some familiar faces.

“I would love to go to New Zealand and I love meeting other street musicians, I was involved in the project last year and we met people from all over. It would be great – it’s lovely sharing stories with people about playing on the streets from all around the world.

Joe, who cites blues music as his main inspiration, started busking three years ago in Chatsworth Market as a way to practise for live shows. He can now be regularly seen in Broadway Market on Saturdays and Columbia Road in Shoreditch on Sundays.

He said: “It wasn’t an immediate attraction but you get constantly changing audiences and you have to adapt your performance to be viable. You have to be interesting – they are already on their way somewhere but if you can hold someone’s attention, you know you are making a difference.

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“It’s also got me out of a lot of binds; when you haven’t got any money left, the generosity of people can take you aback.”

Joe is known for playing his harmonica and writes his own music, inspired by playing on the streets and his time travelling.

He said: “The harmonica is a very vocal instrument which is connected with your breath so it’s very expressive. There are certain limitations with the notes you can use and it has an ethereal raspy sound – because I mainly play blues there is a long standing relationship there.

“A lot of my song writing is inspired by the things that I see whilst travelling; I write about playing on the street. Playing in New Orleans has been the pinnacle of things so far. It is a really incredible city for music and street music especially, and the culture is very akin to the blues culture that I’m interested in.”

See Joe perform and vote for him at: feelingthestreet.com. Voting ends on June 3.