Buskers, travelling minstrels, undercover popstars (see BBC Radio 1); whatever name they go by, street musicians have populated cities across the world for centuries. UK cathedral cities, such as Bath and Oxford, have a long and proud tradition of street performance and no licence is required but popular spots have to be booked in advance. Other city authorities are not always so welcoming so buskers take their chances, hoping to make a bit of money before the police move them on.
Nowadays, one is just as likely to stumble upon a guitarist surrounded by various pedals and a loop station, a modern day one-man band, as you are a penny whistle player.
Music on the streets can make for a pleasant and convivial atmosphere. A lot of the time we walk on by but occasionally an ear catching rendition of a well-known song might cause us to slow our pace and take a moment to enjoy the sounds. Who knows, one could be in the presence of the next Ed Sheeran, a former busker himself. One thing that can be guaranteed; someone somewhere right now is singing Hallelujah.
We’ve selected 17 images depicting street musicians from Trinidad to Serbia via China, a global community united in music.