INSP Vendor Playlist: Hus Forbi vendors talk about how music influences their lives

Hus Forbi vendor Jette went bankrupt and left everything behind after as a result of a violent relationship. Now she, and many of her friends, are homeless and street paper vendors. In the summer, they go to marketplaces around Denmark. She used to be a teacher, and plays piano and accordion. She mentions two favourite pieces of music. “‘Tango Jalousie’, by the Danish composer Jacob Gade, is a wonderful piece of music to play on the piano,” she says. “Another is ‘Barcelona’, as performed by Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and opera singer Montserrat Caballé. It is just a beautiful song, and they perform it perfectly.”

Hus Forbi vendor Jette

Ion and Mariana Vasi are husband and wife. They came to Denmark to work in the service sector, while their families in Romania take care of their children. Mariana was blighted by a life-changing illness and they lost their jobs. Now they live in an old car and have been the selling Hus Forbi as their primary source of income in Aarhus. They are both descended from musicians. Mariana is actually a good singer and Ion plays accordion brilliantly. However, they sense that Danes do not like street musicians, so they prefer to be vendors. “If not for music I could not live,” Ion says. “My favourite piece of music is ‘La Paloma’ (or ‘No More’, as performed by Elvis Presley). I love to play it. Music is an international language – it is everybody’s mother tongue.” Maria used to sing at weddings as a child. She still sings while Ion plays the accordion. Her favourite song is ‘Besame mucho’ by Diana Krall.

Hus Forbi vendor Ion Vasi Hus Forbi vendor Mariana Vasi

Ravn became homeless as 17-year-old and has been on and off the streets ever since. Ravn’s guitar is the ultimate street guitar. Ravn was travelling in Spain with his partner, Andy. They got the guitar from a man on the street. Then Andy decorated the guitar. ‘’We are all eternal children. As an adult, you get stuck, and you just have to be in a certain way. I’ve played the guitar since I was 13. I played the guitar with my left hand but changed to the right.” When asked what music means to him, Ravn says: “It means therapy – play without boundaries and creativity. My favourite artist is David Bowie. Right now, it’s ‘Fill Your Heart’ from the album Hunky Dory, which I like best.”

Hus Forbi vendor Ravn

Listen to the full playlist here.

Editing by Tony Inglis