By Rhonda Dredge
Edo Haloho is taking a well-deserved break outside the town hall between gigs. The previous day he released his new song The Journeyman outside Coles in Elizabeth St.
He was nervous about the song’s reception. The lyrics are about being away and a good friend comes looking for you.
It’s not the sentiments that trouble him but the actual performance.
“Busking is hard because people are in your face. On stage if you make a mistake nobody notices. Famous people all make mistakes. They’re good at improvising,” he said.
Close-up and personal audiences suit Edo. Even though he is one of 2000 performers with a busking licence for the CBD he prefers the back streets and the quiet corners.
“I don’t need to be in Bourke St. I don’t use a speaker. I write songs about myself.”
He paid $25 for an annual busking licence and has a map from the town hall. He plays a spot for two hours before moving on. He’s not in it for the money, he says, but the feedback on his work.
Busking can be big business. Auditions are held for spots in the Bourke St Mall. Bands such as Two Brothers and Sticky Fingers have gone on to international careers after playing there.
The tough competition and the popularity of swipe cards has reduced takings but buskers are enterprising. One hired a portable credit card swiper for his gigs.
Edo has done the audition at the town hall and picked up work from the mall. “My boss runs a Mexican restaurant. He heard me and gave me a gig.”
The important thing, though, is not the fame but the sound. “Most people listen. It’s medicine for them.”
The Journeyman is an old school song. That’s its perspective. “My songs usually have a philosophy. My new song says something about life.”
Passers-by recognise themselves in the lyrics and Edo knows that they know that feeling.
By Rhonda Dredge