I took a little trip to Québec this week, more specifically Montréal and Québec City. There was an abundance of street performers and artists at many parks and gathering areas in the city.
Being from a not-such-a-metropolis that Montréal or a European-influenced city like Québec, I wanted to share my experience with street musicians and talk about how much I appreciate the art form.
Street musicians and performers have been around for centuries since 462 BC in Ancient Rome.
It’s no lie how much joy they bring to people and can liven up any street or outdoor setting.
Maybe it’s due to the French influence on Québec that the prevalence of street performers and music was much more visible compared to cities in the U.S.
Montréal has constant music festivals and festivals year long and music seems to be a big part of Québec’s culture.
I saw a myriad of instruments as I walked through the streets of Montréal and Québec City. With artists playing the violin, guitar, singing, and other instruments I had never seen before.
I haven’t yet found out the name of the instrument, but it looked almost like a wooden block with a kickstand. The man was sitting on the block playing the harmonica and kicking the block ever so often. It made me curious how many instruments are out there that I’ve never seen or heard of.
One spot in Montréal I loved particularly was an area in front of the Notre Dame Basilica called Place d’Armes. It was a cobblestone-lined courtyard with a fountain and tables scattered around the square for people to relax and sip coffee. Underneath a row of trees, there was a duo singing and playing the guitar for pedestrians and general visitors to the area.
The moment felt unreal. Standing in that courtyard observing people enjoying their Saturday afternoon, the euphonious melodies of the street musicians filled the air.
Even as I was walking through the cobblestone streets of Old Québec City at the Quartier Petit Champlain, it felt like walking through the streets of France. With street musicians playing instruments wherever I looked.
They looked genuinely content and the joy on their faces as visitors to the city took videos of them playing was precious.
The city is considered a city of pedestrians due to how walk-friendly it is. Hearing these musicians after walking miles and miles under the beaming sun immediately changed the environment. It gave it this whimsy and lightness.
An old man was sitting near the cul-de-sac of one of the streets playing his violin fully unbothered. He was lost in his own world immersed in his music and it made me wonder if that’s the best retirement plan in the world
Playing songs for people just to make them happy and share the wonders of music.
Seeing these street musicians is an experience that’s a bit difficult to describe in words and it’s easier to be there in the moment taking it all in.
It made me realize that musicians and performers come in all different forms. Seeing artists sharing their talents to the world in unique forms is something I’ll never get enough of.