The highly talented British street musician and activist Jonny Walker was out playing his guitar one night when he got an unusual request from an unexpected source. Bernard, a homeless man in a wheelchair, wanted to sing a number with him.
Jonny was an accomplished busker, originally from Liverpool but in the habit of traveling all over Britain to bring his music and message to the entire country. He founded both the Association of Street Artists and Performers and the Keep Streets Live Campaign, both dedicated to promoting the interests of street musicians.
His take on being a busker: “If you like people you’ll be a good busker. Busking is as much about making connections with people and brightening up their days as it is about virtuoso performances. There are some buskers who are technically very good players but don’t engage with the crowd that well, whilst others might not be as skillful musically but are great at connecting with their audience.”
We’ve posted Jonny and Bernard’s impromptu performance of “Summertime” below. As you’ll hear, this homeless man who many would assume had no talents of any sort was actually a superb singer.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Bernard was known on the street as “Belfast Brian.” It turned out he was actually Brian Bernard Davey. Before his personal demons got the better of him, he was a successful Irish and folk music singer who had appeared in the 1982 television miniseries “Harry’s Game.” It just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
As Jonny himself described Bernard to an interviewer: “Recently I’d seen him in a wheelchair and thought he’d really gone downhill. But I never realized he was a singer. … I started playing and his voice was absolutely incredible — I couldn’t believe how good it was.”
What did you think of this amazing duet by an activist busker and a homeless man with hidden talent? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Be sure to like and share, too!
EDITOR’S NOTE: I have a confession to make. I live for those kinds of videos. They open my heart every time, and no matter what mood I’m in, they always make me feel good. So I would be honored if I could share my other favorite “heart warming video” on a similar note: