Music has entertained people for as long as civilisations have existed. Piano music, in particular, has accompanied events, festivals and weddings, making it a much-appreciated accompaniment for the day. Some musicians, in a departure from playing in a sombre music hall, have successfully given their performances a playful twist. In Britain, a talented German musician Rainer Hersch has incorporated everyday things from Microsoft Windows jingles to a British Airways television commercial soundtrack into his orchestra music. Not far away in Germany, the comedian pair Ass-Dur play their music with the added amusement of changing in and out of clothes, much to the amazement of ladies.
From the southern part of Britain comes an innovative busker called Oliver Cumming. Cumming created his piano on wheels called Rimski’s Piano and it has never failed to wow passers-by wherever he goes. The musician has done a slick promotional trailer, complete with beautiful accompanying music, that captures the essence of all that he does with Rimski’s Piano. The movable piano is essentially an upright piano fitted on a set of bicycle wheels. As Cumming plays on the keyboard, he pedals with his feet, causing the piano to move sideways.
In videos that have appeared on the Internet, he is seen peddling backwards – opposite of what cyclists normally do – and moving entire device leftwards. Given that the man has to constantly look out for traffic with his peripheral vision, one must surely give it to him for accomplishing such a feat!
Cumming explained that he had fashioned the movable piano in 2005, when he started working as a travelling circus musician. Even though Rimski’s Piano travels at only 5 mph, it is nonetheless something that captures the attention of people who have the fortune of seeing him play. Since he came up with his clever invention, Cumming has performed at various places, from Britain to Scotland to the United States. A question that many people must have in their minds is how Cumming manages to turn his Rimski’s Piano right or left, in the absence of handlebars!
Unsurprisingly, Rimski’s Piano, along with its owner, Oliver Cumming, has received wide media attention and been invited to perform at music festivals. In keeping to his roots, Cumming has also accepted invitations to perform in circus performances. Although Cumming performs old-fashioned cabaret tunes at traditional markets, that does not stop him from engaging the modern-day audience with new-age marketing techniques.
Cumming is not the only performer who brings his piano onto the streets. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in San Francisco, a man known as Gary Skaggs has also created his own piano bicycle. In this case, though, he is able to face the front when he plays. Still, navigating the 320-pound contraption through the busy streets of the big city is no mean feat!
It is amazing how music not only entertains people in the ways it is meant to entertain, but how its performers adapt it to suit their personalities and transform it in ways that one never imagined possible. Music and creativity go hand in hand, and when put together, they create magic that inspire people and leave them in awe.