A glowing and exotic melody drew me around the corner of Suffolk Street to the front of St Andrew’s Church where Alessandro ‘Alex’ was serenading Molly Malone with his bright and balmy guitar tunes.
I instantly recognised the flowing harmonics of John Butler’s ‘Ocean’ with Alex’s own personal twist, he also hammered out a few Ben Howard numbers with his guitar placed across his knees like a keyboard. Alex’s smile is warm and friendly as he explains that he’s been in Ireland about a year and a half since moving from his hometown of Rome, in which time he found a job and subsequently quit when he realised that he could make a living from busking.
He challenged himself to try living just from busking and finding gigs and he did. While on the street he plays with his acoustic guitar and amplifier, his Megadeth Hoodie betrays his true musical preferences. He told me that he grew up loving metal and electronic music but it was through practicality that he couldn’t bring his electric guitar and equipment from Italy so instead he bought an acoustic guitar and taught himself to play the music that he performs today.
In his case on the ground before him alongside a couple of euro coins is a copy of his album ‘ZAR; Sounds of Mind’. The album took 10 hours to record in a studio in Ireland and he tells me it is a collection of instrumental songs from covers to his own compositions.
Alex’s style of music is entirely inspired by busking and his work on the street; ‘Every day I am here on the street when the weather permits me’, he tells me, ’I try not to busk every day because we get complaints from the shops. There is lots of trouble and debate between the shops, buskers and Dublin City Council, we have to wait till July to hear the outcome
But you know this is art, that is just business.’ Alex professed that his favourite part of busking is that no matter what kind of day he is having he can just come along and play; ‘If a child or someone comes along and throws a coin in and smiles at you, it can just completely change your day!’.
His plan he explains is to make his music work for him and to make it provide for him for the future; ‘that’s the plan, this is just the beginning. I don’t want to spend my whole life on the street that’s for sure! I would like to make something concrete you know, make some shape of what I do’.
If you want to check out Alex’s music, you can listen to the utterly fantastic ‘ZAR; Sounds of Mind’ on Soundcloud.
- Kevin O’Reilly, Music Editor