Homeless Man’s Powerful Voice Will Give You Chills
Entertainment| | By Jason Owen
On New Year’s Eve, an amateur musician was approached by a homeless man in a wheelchair who asked if he could sing with the guitarist. The musician agreed, and moments later, was in awe.
Jonathan Walker, a street performer who had spent many evenings playing the streets of Leeds, had often seen a homeless man, Bernard Davey, in a wheelchair traversing the neighborhood for years. But it wasn’t until New Year’s Eve this year that Davey came up to Walker and asked if he could sing along.
“As a busker, I spend a lot of time on the streets and had seen this man many times over the years, but didn’t know he was [a] singer, and, as the years had gone by, his health and well-being seemed to have worsened a great deal. We jammed out a version of ‘Summertime’ and I was blown away by his voice so I stopped a passerby and asked them to capture the moment on my camera phone.”
Walker shared the video on YouTube and Facebook where it has generated over one million views and thousands of shares.
“My spontaneous street jam with Bernard Davey was a soul-affirming, enriching experience which summed up everything I love about street culture. The streets are full of wonderful surprises and stories. I hope Bernard’s amazing improvised version of ‘Summertime’ helps people to remember not to judge people they see on the streets according to their appearances, but to always look below the surface appearance and find the person underneath.
“Moments like these are why I founded the Keep Streets Live Campaign, a not for profit organization which advocates for public spaces which are open to informal offerings of art and music and campaigns against the criminalization of homelessness and street culture (see http://keepstreetslive.com).
“In addition, there are many wonderful charities that work with homeless and vulnerably housed including Inn Churches which provides emergency accommodation for the homeless in churches during the cold winter months and intercepts food waste to give to the hungry. I am doing a sponsored sober year in 2016 to raise funds for them and you can find out more and make a donation here: https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/jonny-walker-goes-sober-2016.”
With any luck, Davey’s newfound Internet fame will lead to the man getting some much-needed and much-deserved help. And hopefully you find Davey’s performance as inspiring as Walker and myself.