‘Buskin’ Blues,’ a documentary about Asheville street musicians, coming together


A documentary film about Asheville street musicians that’s been almost a year in the making is coming together and could be set for a September screening.

Erin Derham, a voice actor, oral historian and documentary filmmaker, is the creative force behind Buskin’ Blues: Asheville’s Urban Soundtrack. From Derham and her website, thehistoryboutique:

“Their banjos and flutes clash with the rush of cars and laughter of tourists, composing the unique sound that is warmly regarded as Asheville’s Urban Soundtrack. However, there is so much more to these musicians that meets the eye. They have a subculture within our city that has yet to be explored.”

This project will produce three final products: a short documentary about their culture and thought on music, an interactive website for the community to engage with during the process, and an interactive exhibit for people around the state to enjoy.

More from Derham in a June post:

It’s been 8 months since I started the research and grant writing, and now I only have one more shoot and I will be done with production! Very excited to have been working with such an amazing crew, especially my Director of Photography, Shane Peters! And what would a film about music be without the expertise of Asheville’s top audio engineer, David Schmidt with Acapella Audio! Now it is time to edit all of this beautiful footage into the perfect story about the Busking subculture! …

And one more tidbit:

One of my original reasons for documenting the busking subculture was to discover how deep the divide ran between long-held stereotypes and recent realities of street performers. The Graziano Family fits the bill. They have a home, a family, a band, and an instrument-making business all centered around music and the art of busking. I would not be surprised if I come across a little drummer boy named Imani in Pack Square a few years from now, busking to his heart’s content to a huge crowd of people.

Anyone who knows Asheville knows that the city’s street musicians add an amazing audio pastiche to the humdrum sounds of a city. I can’t wait to see this doc.

Erin Derham on Twitter.

Erin Derham photo of Asheville musician Bobby Sax on Instagram.

1 Comment

Harry August 20, 2014 - 10:50 am

This should be great, provided that they left out the toothless homeless dudes who couldn’t carry a tune in the bucket they sit on.

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