Basially, we could say a street-band is a band which can play acoustic, with movments, and almost everywhere (inside, outside, on grass, on stage, on rocks, on a bench, on a table, in puddles, on a boat, in a tree…).
Mostly composed by wind instruments and carried percussions. Sometimes accordions, electric violins and guitars with a little carried amp. Singers often use a megaphone.
A few exemples of traditional street-bands in the World :
* Military bands, in Western Europe / Marching Bands in north America,
* Wedding and funeral orchestras, mostly in Eastern Europe.
* Bandas de Carnaval-Fiesta, all of Latin America.
* Percussion bands (Steel-drum bands, Trinidad - Batucadas, Brazil).
* African Brass-bands (Benin, south Africa …)
* Second line parade Brass-bands, New Orleans (from Dixieland to Funk)
Since about 25 years, new forms of acoustic bands emerged in the streets, what we call in France "fanfare de rue".
Because there is a lot of street-festivals in France, there are many "fanfares de rue" too, all different and full of artistic creativity.
If not only great music, professional street-bands often mix their show with another artistic discipline, like dance, or circus, or theatre. Either with non-musicians (actors, dancers, performers,…) or with musicians being both. That's the particularity of being a musician in a fanfare de rue !
All styles of music can be played, from traditional to modern, classic to metal, jazz to reggae, covers or pure creation. Or even a medley of styles. The choice of instrumentation makes the sound of the band and can be very specific, specially in traditional music.
fanfare de rue
To play in an amateur fanfare de rue, as a child, a teen or an adult, is a great experience in many ways. First of all it's a good place to meet people and share the music practice, in a friendly and often quite funny ambiance.
Unusually, the different level of practice of the members is not a problem but a source of inspiration, to create a unique band where everybody has their own place.
Everybody has something special, let's find out what and put a bit of light on it. Even if it's shyness ! The "difference" is an asset and develops the creativity and artistic coherence of the band, allow any fantasy. Mixture in every meanings is, for me, a key of success.
Far away from any elitism, it's open to everybody and a good place to develop and improve self-confidence. Tolerance induces complicity, complicity induces creativity, creativity induces progress. And fun !
To play by heart often sounds terrible for people not used to it, but it's not.
It may take a bit more time than just reading, but because it's entirely connected with the band and the action, it comes naturally. It's also something to practice collectively, some musical techniques exist for that.
And when you know a tune by heart, you know it for ever ! (or nearly…)
If not only very good for the memory and the musical ear, playing by heart allows great reactivity of the band, great connection of the musicians altogether. Then you can act or dance by playing (even run or jump if you really want to !) or simply be part of a big picture. Improvisation of course is part of the show, musically but not only…
The proximity of the public and the connection with them is a real great sensitive experience to live. You forget your worries and interact with the whole environment : the street is the stage of the theatre of life, where artists are Kings.