Belle and the Busker – Interview

We met Cíara and Daniel at a Belle and the Busker concert and we were blown away. Two amazing humans with a natural talent for music and make everyone feel comfortable around them. We had the change to ask both some questions, please sit down and let them take you away.

 

Hi Cíara and Daniel, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. How are you today and would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

Daniel and Cíara: Daniel is from London, plays guitar, produces and writes for other artists as well as busking daily across London and playing gigs. Cíara is from Northern Ireland, she loves singing, busking and writing songs as well as reading, drinking coffee and daily dog spotting.

Together, you perform as the duo ‘Belle And The Busker’. Can you remember the first memory each of you has that is connected to music?

Daniel: I remember fumbling around in my parents bedroom and finding a guitar in the wardrobe – it was a real Narnia Moment!

Cíara: I remember singing along with old musicals; my first recording was when I was five and my Dad taped us singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz on an old tape player! I wonder has he still got that somewhere in his Aladdin’s cave of old recordings? Then when I grew to be a tween I remember being obsessed with “girl power” in the form of the fierce five-some the Spice Girls! That was my first taste of feminism in popular music and I loved it, those were the days. Every little girl would be one – I was Baby!

You also perform as a band ‘Belle And The Busker’. What is the main difference for you in performing as a duo and performing as a band?

Daniel and Cíara: The band is focused on our original music, it is a labour of love and what all our efforts are geared towards. The main difference between that and the duo is that the duo is for hire, we play covers and entertain people (it is how we make a living). The band is more a representation of our art but there is a cross over between the two especially when busking. We like to think we represent Belle and the Busker authentically wherever we perform.

Sometimes, people can find you busking on the streets of London. Does busking feel different to performing other concerts?

Daniel and Cíara: Busking is a great opportunity to expose our music to lots of people, a forever fresh audience and to make money while doing something we love. It is also very freeing; we can choose when, where and how we play. A gig by nature is more structured – when we play as a band we put on a show that has been rehearsed and put together to showcase what we can do as an original act. When we are hired as a duo the format may be more structured with set times and an agenda to please the crowd. This can also be a lot of fun; we often have guests requesting their favourite songs and allow the audience to turn us into a ‘human jukebox’. Our favourite is when musician friends pop by one of our gigs to support, hang out with us and come up on stage with us to collaborate! Music connects people to a place, a time, to each other.

The mission of our website is bringing people together with the power of music and letting them share a story to a song that helped them through a tough time. Is there a specific song that helped you and would you mind sharing the story?

Daniel: Van Morrison – Brand New Day 

I remember being about 21, having lost any sense of security, sleeping on friends sofas and moving almost daily from job to job (most peoples first year in London I know:-)) and listening to this song among others from Van’s album. I don’t know if it’s different if you are a musician with dreams but when the chips are down you tend to hold onto these songs very tightly like they are a passport to a brighter future, you know nothing will change on this day but it also just might.

Cíara: Natalie Merchant 

If you listen to this (which I hope you do as it’s a beautiful song by a beautiful artist) she says it better than I could!

In your opinion, what makes music unique? What is the difference to other artistic expressions?

Daniel: Music speaks for itself, it speaks for you and it doesn’t speak to you at all, in that way it is similar to almost anything but when it hits the nail on the head there is nothing quite like it. You couldn’t put it into words and with music you wouldn’t have to.

Cíara: Music is unique in that although it is an aural art, it touches you on all five senses and can stay with you, in you, long after you hear it. It is felt and not simply listened to. This is a powerful artistic connection we all can relate to. When you create it there is nothing like it. I feel myself when I sing.

People tend to say that music saved their life. Do you think music itself has the power to influence or even save someone or does it need more?

Daniel: Music works when it speaks to people, it can create a way of life, make you feel connected to humanity or vent against it. Popular culture is huge in today’s society and messages in music can shift things but at the same time kids don’t know or care about those things initially, they just respond positively to a sound they like. From the cradle to the grave it is there, you can engage or not engage.

Cíara: Music and storytelling are combined throughout history from the earliest times recorded. We have and always have had it. We always will have. It is how we communicate and it is what connects us to our fellow humans in the past, present and future. It is how we warn of danger, how we lament love, how we feel in the moment, how we are thinking, how we relate, how we express joy and sorrow and everything in between. Ultimately it is how we express our journey called life. Yes it has the power and influence to save someone’s life. A piece of music, a song, or a lyric can comfort, protect and heal. It is therapy.

Is there anything you’d like to say to people who are struggling at the moment?

Daniel: Listen to our new album!….ha ha ha no I would say listen to what you love and open your mind to new sounds and through that people will open up to you. Sometimes it’s just you and the record until you can face the world again.

Cíara: “This too shall pass”. This is a blessing and a curse as the bad times WILL pass, but so do the good times, so enjoy your short life and live your best one. Hold on to hope and love. X

Thank you so much again!

Daniel and Cíara: Our pleasure x

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