Busker to perform at London Literature Festival

Griselda Sanderson with her Nyckelharpa. Picture: PA
Griselda Sanderson with her Nyckelharpa. Picture: PA
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A BUSKER will perform at one of the capital’s most prestigious venues after being plucked from obscurity when she was spotted playing in the street.

Prize-winning poet Alice Oswald heard Griselda Sanderson busking in Totnes in Devon and asked her to join her on stage at Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank as part of the London Literature Festival.

She asked her to join the one-off performance of her work Tithonus - 46 minutes In The Life Of The Dawn - after she saw the musician playing a traditional 16-string Swedish instrument called a Nyckelharpa.

The narrator is based on a character in Greek myth who is turned into a grasshopper, and Ms Oswald said: “Just as I’d completed the poem, I passed Griselda busking on Totnes High Street - her instrument looks exactly like a grasshopper, so I asked her to collaborate. We’ve been working together on the soundscape of the poem since July and I’ve adapted the words to her music.”

The pair only met in June and Ms Sanderson said she was excited about the chance to play at the Southbank Centre, but would not be giving up busking.

She said: “I see busking as street performance and I do it a lot and people really enjoy it as it’s such a strange instrument - I might even go out and do it after the show at Southbank, who knows?”

The performance on Thursday October 9 is part of the annual festival which will also include appearances by Stephen Fry and Sheila Hancock.