坐在Aleksanterinkatu大街上奏起他手做的玻璃瓶琴，時而敲出柴可夫斯基的第四交響曲，時而響起Aram Khachaturian節奏明快的Sabre Dance，但無論身邊圍了多少途人，Grigorev還是一臉悠然自得－－因為音樂雖然是他的工作，但同樣是他最享受的一件事情。
Helsinki, everything is bright and beautiful. Sun shine lingers in this northern capital, from 5am til 1am, the sky is never dark. Warm weather brings life to this city, everyone flocks to the street for some vitamin D; street performers are filled with extra energy, celebrating the season in their own ways. Feodor Grigorev from St. Petersburg is one of them.
When did you become a street performer?
Music has always been part of my life. Four of my brothers are all musicians: one of my brother and I are percussionists; two of them play accordion and one plays trumpet, even my mom was a pianist when she was young. Working with music seems natural to me, we used to perform on the street together when we were young and we loved it. I worked as a rock musician for few years but decided to become a street performer in 1999. I have a lot of freedom as a street musician. I can start work when suitable. If things are going well and I feel like playing longer than planned I can also do that.But most important, I do what I love, which is play music. This allows me to connect with people, to touch them. I can’t actually imagine a better job!
When did you start performing with the water bottles xylophone?
I began performing at the bottle xylophone in 2012, in Helsinki, in the summer. Before that, I played marimba a few years on the streets of Helsinki, and that’s fed up me and the public. All ever get bored. I researched it in Youtube and found a couple of other musicians who had one, one in Zagreb and one in Vienna. I then made my own. I chose bamboo for the frame because it is both light and strong.
Do you assemble the instrument on spot?
Yes, I transport my instrument disassembled , I assemble it on spot, it takes about 40 minutes.
How long does it take you to perfect the instrument?
I perfect my xylophone up to that moment: when I find the right bottle, I add it to the “lower part of the register." Bottles with low sound are quite rare, this is some problem …The bottles are located in the same system as the keys on a piano: Lower – “white" , line on top – sharps and flats. I play for 6 hours in one sitting, maybe a bit less in winter, some 4 hours per sitting. In winter I have to add an alcohol de-freezer to the water and I will play with up to -15 degrees celsius!
What do you do when you are not performing?
When I’m not playing in Helsinki, I live in St. Petersburg. I have a wife, son 7 years old and two foster children: brother and sister , 12 and 8 years old, taken from an orphanage. Daily routine take pretty much: it is necessary to supervise a school, a music school, a visit to the doctors, and other things… Someday I’d like to go travel the world free from the imposed by the today of obligatory and visa restrictions .. Today I spend half my life in St. Petersburg, half – in Helsinki.
I have read that since 1999, you have been a street performer full time, how did it change your life?
I’m not sure that the street playing music changed my life, I think that the way I was, and remained so: indolent and authoritarian.) But seriously, the work of a street musician – quite hard work. When I go to the cafe to change a little money, cafe workers often are surprised: «200 euros for one day? That’s 30,000 euro in the year? You are rich man! Also I want so!..» They do not think that constantly sit on the street, in spite of the rain or snow – it is not the same as at home on the couch .. When passion turns into profession, first the man is happy, then he gets used to do it and takes it like granted.. The rest for me is a change of activity, such as digging a flower bed under the strawberries in the country.
What kind of song get more tips?
The most “cash" works – it’s the music from popular films, often old and almost forgotten. A man walks down the street and suddenly hear music from his youth or childhood … I want to believe that tinkles of the coins into the box have the reasons of touchs to the souls…
Anyone tried to jam with you while you perform? With instrument or singing?
I have been playing together, I played with the singer, I also have a joint performance with a Finnish musician playing the pans, bowls and plates, it was a small avant-garde show.
What constitute a good life to you? What is the most important thing?
The good life for me – to have the freedom. Open borders. Travels. Homecoming. Respect, love the people are close to me. Time, belong to me, the opportunity to share them with loved ones.
Words: Emmy So
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