NPR : World Cafe

Sense Of Place: Busking For Fame, And A Few Bucks

Throughout the week, World Cafe travels to Dublin, Ireland — the first stop in a quarterly series called Sense of Place. We hope to give you an idea of the past and present of the city's local music scene and provide tips from musicians and music lovers for those hoping to visit this culturally rich town.

Acting as tour guide is Glen Hansard, the Academy Award-winning songwriter and singer for both The Frames and The Swell Season. Hot Press editor Niall Stokes, who helms the Irish equivalent of Rolling Stone, and musician Conor O'Brien of the band Villagers also provide local insight.

Today's segment explores some of the best new Irish acts, many of whom got their start in the same way — busking on the streets of Dublin. Conor O'Brien says that Temple Bar or Grafton Street is where you'll find the most buskers, as that's the best place to catch the ears of passing tourists, and maybe some of their money, as well.

Glen Hansard used to busk, too. He didn't do it for the cash, though, like his counterpart from the movie Once, but rather for the love of playing music anywhere he could. (Living with his mother helped.) Hansard and World Cafe host David Dye meet a busker on Grafton Street, who was out for his second time and quickly learning the ropes. Could he be in the next generation of famous Irish musicians?

The Irish scene is more diverse now than it was during the singer-songwriter boom of the '90s. Niall Stokes says bands to watch include the electro-pop trio Two Door Cinema Club, Imelda May and Laura Izibor, one of Ireland's only black soul singers. Both Stokes and Hansard cite O'Brien's band Villagers as one of the best new acts, as well. And whom does O'Brien suggest? Adebisi Shank, an experimental rock and electronic band, which he says is one of the most exciting bands he's seen in recent memory.

Click here to learn more about Sense of Place, and check out WXPN's interactive map of Dublin.

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