The Economic Adventures of a Transborder Street Musician

Heading down south for the big Pesos.

Busker’s Buzz December 20, 2007

Filed under: Tuesdays — ramonalvarado @ 2:23 am
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franquicia tambora 

As I was arriving at the pedestrian area of Velarde St. I saw that the place where the Andean musicians where last time was taken by this gentleman selling a sort of dancing magical skeletons. He sells them by putting on a show with them. These things are made of plastic, about three inches tall and hang by a very thin, invisible almost, fishing wire and he sort of inadvertently makes them dance while speaking to the public.  I kept on walking to my usual spot in the shoe store area. I was so focused on finding out if the PA system of the big shoe store was on that I didn’t noticed that the Andean musicians where already setting up right there. When I saw them I noticed one of the agents of commerce talking to them and telling them that they should get a permit, I think it’s because they have the whole kit, including CD’s and flutes to sell. I talked to them and found out thatthey are actually from Mexico City and not from the Andean region, they usually busk at Malls during this season.

As I was wishing them luck and taking off at that same corner, in the middle of the pedestrian crossing, two little boys, probably 5 or 6 or 5 and6 started to play Tambora with a snare drum and a clarinet, I was really happy about all of this busking scene but a little bit nervous about finding a spot. I went ahead anyway and walked a block further south, did my set and then walked towards the northern end of the Velarde pedestrian shopping area where Ulises joined me briefly once again.

tambora franchise

After that I went towards the Museum where I saw that the little tambora boys had multiplied. They were 7 of them and they had a strategy of divide and conquer. The group I had seen in the Velarde plaza was a subdivision of a busking franchise of brothers and sisters. They where all walking together with their instruments this time back to the main downtown square. As soon as I started my set at the Museum I broke a string, luckily there is a music store right next to me and I was able to change it in less than 5 minutes.

Day 14


Amount of money made: $11.38

Broken string: .90c

Actual gain: $10.48

Exchange rate: 11.16 pesos/dollar