Microphone manufacturer Shure has teamed up with German record producer Marten Berger, whose next project is to tour the countries of Europe in a mobile recording studio, capturing performances by street musicians “from every corner of the continent” for release on CD and as a double vinyl album. Shure has provided microphones and headphones for use in Marten’s studio, a converted Volkswagen ice-cream van, when the grand year-long project begins in May 2017.
Marten, who has been studying music recording and composition in the Dutch/German border town of Enschede for the past few years, dates the genesis of his project to an experience he had two years ago, when he encountered a gifted street musician, Christiaan Mauer, in the Dutch city of Groningen, and was inspired to record him. He began thinking about all the musicians living on the streets throughout Europe, and how he could help the world to hear some of their musical talent, or, as he describes it, “secret beauty, hidden in the streets of our cities”.
Marten hatched a plan to create a crowdfunded, portable recording studio and travel through 30 countries in Europe, recording all the street musicians he could find and releasing the best on an album at the end of the project. Using affordable video and internet technology, he is shooting footage of the performers he meets and the music they create, and releasing it as a series of vlogs on his website and via social media as his journey unfolds.
His route will take him north to Scandinavia in summer 2017, and then south and into Eastern Europe as the year goes on. He plans to finish in summer 2018, depending on how his funding lasts. “I feel like a European citizen,” he comments. “I want to bring all these cultures and countries into this tiny van.”