I can feel it drumming in the air tonight . .

The drum-playing gorilla busking in the Meadows
The drum-playing gorilla busking in the Meadows
0
Have your say

IT’S enough to make the passers-by go ape.

While it might not be unusual to see buskers around Edinburgh, one recent addition to the Capital’s street musicians has been turning more heads than most.

A man playing the drums dressed as a gorilla has been busking at busy spots all over the Capital, from The Mound to Middle Meadow Walk, and is fast becoming a fixture.

When the Evening News caught up with the primate percussionist, he declined to reveal his true identity, preferring to preserve an air of mystery. While many of those who have done a double-take at his performance have been reminded of the famous Cadbury’s advert, the man behind the mask said that had not been his inspiration at all.

He said: “I am aware there’s an advert with a gorilla but it wasn’t originally that, it was a Hallowe’en outfit that I had and I was persuaded by having the drum kit as well. Because I had a talent, I thought combining the two would be a good thing. I do it to entertain people and for practice.”

When not drumming in disguise in public, he plays with bands around Edinburgh, and while he does admit to occasionally performing a version of the Phil Collins drum break from the Cadbury ad after enough requests, he usually favours funk, jazz and Latin tunes.

Out on the streets, though, it’s the reactions of the passers-by that make the experience worthwhile.

He said: “It’s a good one for children. They sometimes run away or they sometimes come up with their mum and dad and have a go on the drums. The little ones don’t do as much damage, but the older ones like to play and sometimes push it over.

“Another funny one is pets. There was a St Bernard that came up and wanted to play straight away.”

Not everyone is impressed, however. One passer-by, who did not want to be named, approached the drummer as the Evening News interviewed him to ask: “Can I ask you favour? If you see me going past with my daughter, could you take your mask off because she’s terrified of people who have their faces covered?”

He explained that the five-year-old had been shaken by her first sight of the gorilla a few days before.

He said: “I was cycling with her and I had to speed up because she was terrified. But she’s just one of a small percentage of children who for some reason has got it into her head that it’s scary.”

The drummer said that playing outside the General Register Office, across from the Balmoral, was his most lucrative patch, though not every payment was in cash. He added: “I quite often get bananas.”

sgyford@edinburghnews.com