Ethan Carey, is a young musician from Ireland currently living in Luxembourg. He's spent the last 22 years performing and playing music across Europe and currently, is hard at work on his first EP, "a folk inspired album drawing on my experiences performing around the world".
In addition to that, Carey is working on his own music project entitled LOSS IN WINTER, "a post rock / metal inspired collection of my darker sounds".
Due to the pandemic, and it's effects on the art/music scene, you are more likely to find Ethan on the street with his guitar than you are in a bar, "so keep an eye out and say 'hi' if you do!" he says.
"I love to meet and converse with new people (especially fellow musicians!)", says Carey.
RTL Today wanted to find out how street performers are faring during what has been a very long year, here Ethan candidly fills us in on his experiences.
As a street performer, you will have had to adjust to how you make a living, how exactly, aside from the obvious loss in income, has the pandemic affected how and what you do?
Thankfully, the pandemic did not actually end up affecting me as badly as it may have hurt some other musicians. I am lucky enough to have been able to travel a lot with my music, and while on the road, always was drawn to street performing to pass the time and to earn money. Having primarily relied on that as a source of income, in addition to the usual gigs in venues, I was left relatively unscathed by the closure of venues as a result of the government measures. The people of Luxembourg seem to have a great appreciation for all things music, and street performing here has been a pleasure! In fact, with the current pandemic, I think people appreciate music on the street that much more!
If you cast your mind back to this time last year, can you pinpoint an exact time when you saw attitudes change?
I would say attitudes changed for me once the first proper lockdown was announced. That was a scary time, with lots of uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus situation. I was lucky enough to have been able to perform from my house in Beggen, where we put on some socially distanced concerts literally from the bedroom window. It definitely was a cool experience and cheered up the neighbourhood (Except that one guy who threatened to call the police because of the noise - But that's life :) )
Do you feel that people/performers such as yourself have been overlooked by government programmes?
Luxembourg has excellent supports in place for those who need them. Having only been living here for a year and a bit however, sadly I do not have the option to apply for the supports available to musicians just yet, as far as I am aware.
What are you doing during the restrictions? Are you able to perform, or are the rules that prevent you from doing so?
Once I emerged from the first lockdown sometime around last May, I took to the streets of Luxembourg performing almost five times a week. It was a wonderful summer and I met so many enthusiastic and friendly people who supported my music. With the sun shining and people out and about enjoying themselves, it was a magical time. I was lucky to be involved in the construction, design and launch of a music bar based in Beggen, called Vantage Bar, ran by a good friend of mine Karol Kuska, who is himself also a phenomenal violinist. With the opening of the bar, we played many gigs and hosted a number of incredible open mic sessions.
Recently, we took part in a fundraiser for the Polish charity WOSP, hosting a livestream event from Vantage Bar where local musicians performed in aid of the charity.
The work of all those involved raised over 28,000 as part of a collective international effort with all proceeds going to funding for children's hospitals in Poland. You can check out one of the performances we put on in the link below! I would advise all lovers of music to pay a visit to the bar once things open up again, as it really is a sight to behold with a wonderful atmosphere and even better music!
Nowadays with the current restrictions, things have been a little tougher for me personally to stay as motivated as I was in the summer. So I am biding my time for the grey skies to be replaced with sunshine, and in the meantime have been writing and recording a number of songs for my own upcoming EP, as well as for my own experimental music project, titled LOSS IN WINTER.
What has the lockdown taught you about yourself and your place in Luxembourg (with that I mean, do you feel that you have had support)?
I think the lockdown has further reinforced my resilience. It has also given me time to reflect and plan for the future, and like a lot of people has made me really appreciate our freedoms. I cannot wait for a return to the way things were before, but I am also enjoying the change of pace to some degree. Although now things are getting a little long in the tooth as we would say in Ireland.
The cool thing about this city is firstly its amazing beauty, but secondly its small size. There is a real sense of community here, and often times I will walk down the street and meet some people who remember me from my last performance and we will strike up a conversation.
Its an amazing feeling chatting to relative strangers about your music, and I think its a testament to the nice and friendly atmosphere we have here in Luxembourg, especially amongst fellow expats like myself.
In general terms how have people treated you during Covid? Are people on the street more likely to stop and listen now in comparison to before, or has it remained the same?
As I mentioned previously, I think people in Luxembourg are absolutely wonderful and really appreciate music on the streets. The number of great friends I have met and made from street performing is phenomenal. There is no better feeling than when you begin to gather a crowd as a street performer, and here in Luxembourg the public have been especially supportive and seemed to really enjoy the music. It is always a great pleasure for me to bring some music to the streets here.
What do you hope will happen with regard to music performance in the coming months?
I really am hopeful that with the coming of the sunshine we will see a reopening of some of the bars and restaurants. I am hopeful for some outdoor gigs to come for the summer so that we can bring some life back into the city. In the meanwhile, once the sunshine comes out I will bring my music back to the streets, but for the next month or two as I complete my bachelors degree and finish my EP, I think I will stay in hibernation!
Ethan put together a Guide to Busking for anyone that feels like giving it a go. Check it out here.