The culture of street performances in India is nothing new but how often do you see a Spaniard playing blues on the chaotic streets of India?
Borja Catanesi is a guitarist and street performer from Valencia, Spain. He has been travelling for the last 5 years, doing street shows in whichever country he travels to. “I love to spread music with the people. I play funk, reggae, blues and rock and roll. In my shows I use a loop station. It’s a pedal that I record myself in the moment, allowing me to play different instruments as beatbox, bass, guitar, etc, creating a full and powerful sound.” says Borja.
Since Borja arrived in the country on 12th January, he has visited Delhi, Varanasi, Kharagpur, Bangalore, Goa, Agra, Udaipur and Pushkar, playing for people on the streets in whichever city he travels to. “It’s been amazing, the Indian crowd is great. I’ve experienced very good moments playing in this country” Borja adds. Since busking is not permitted by law in India, with each instance being dealt at the mercy of the policeman handling it, Borja also encountered the law a few times. “As there’s no regulation for street performances, a few times I got stopped by the police, but they were really friendly. I really enjoyed the first time I played in India, it was in CP, Delhi. Was great to play in such an iconic place. Also in the Ghats of Varanasi.” said Borja.
Since the majority of the Indian audience he garnered during his street performances were not listeners of blues/rock, Borja still managed to capture their interest, while some also joining him for an impromptu dance performance. From a baba on the streets of Pushkar, to a child in Udaipur, Borja managed to connect with people on a human level. “People may not be used to blues here but I believe the music has the power to communicate. When I start improvising and interacting with the people, crowd starts to warm up!” Borja added. “Indian culture is very rich. It has lots of things to offer and teach. I’ll come back to India soon for sure!”.
Head to Borja’s Instagram handle (@borjacatanesi) to see some of his street performances in India.