Music Underground: A Buskers Opera in Two Acts – opening song, ‘Music Underground

By Neal Learner
Busking changed my life. I was two years out of college and singing Jimmy Buffet songs across Europe when I set up my guitar case in a square in Paris. It wasn’t long before this young, dark-haired vision of European beauty walked up to my circle and started listening to my warblings (this is what all 20-something American boys bumming around the continent live for, right?).

I hit the high notes, and after the song ended, I had to say, “Hello, do you speak English?”

I’ll never forget her response: “You’re too clean cut for a street singer,” she said in an accent so charming my knees went weak.

I knew right there I had to have her. And I did. We got married and we’re now approaching our 20th wedding anniversary. So yes, busking changed my life.

Busking, in fact, has always been a key part of my life, even if I seldom engage in the art form any more. In my day job, I’m a Washington, D.C.-based health care journalist. But in my heart, I’m a violinist, songwriter, composer and playwright. And I’ve just completed an opera that is all about the plight of buskers in a city that is threatening to shut them down (a lot like the issues that the Busking Project is addressing).

The show, called “Music Underground: A Buskers Opera in Two Acts?,” has pure heroes, evil villains, beautiful romance, dark treachery, violent conflict, a really cool “death” scene and a final resolution from a surprise source that will knock you out….opera! Here are some demo songs from the show to give you a taste of what’s to come.

Music Underground: A Buskers Opera in Two Acts – Song: It Ain’t Perfect, But It’s Home

If you’d like to know more, please visit my music website at and click on “Buskers Opera.” I’d also love to hear from you at