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David Gilmour Enlists Street Performer with Glass Harp for Venice Show in St. Mark’s Square

David Gilmour, the illustrious guitarist of Pink Floyd, seamlessly filled the void left by Syd Barrett, the original frontman of the band, whose exit in 1968 was precipitated by a tumultuous battle with mental health and substance misuse. Barrett’s departure marked a pivotal moment for Pink Floyd, compelling the band to navigate through their musical journey without one of their founding members. In homage to Barrett, the band released “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” as part of their 1975 masterpiece album “Wish You Were Here,” featuring a distinct wine glass sequence recorded in 1971. This particular piece not only paid tribute to Barrett but also showcased Pink Floyd’s innovative approach to music, incorporating unconventional instruments to create their unique soundscapes.

The story takes an intriguing turn in Venice, 2006, encapsulated in a moment captured in the video below:

On 11 August 2006, a day preceding his last performance in the iconic St Mark’s Square, David Gilmour, accompanied by his wife, Polly Samson, discovered Igor Sklyarov, a virtuoso street musician who was enchanting passersby with his glass harp. The glass harp, an instrument comprised of varying sizes of glass cups or bowls filled with water to different levels to produce musical tones, resonated with Gilmour, perhaps reminding him of the wine glass music from “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”

Sklyarov’s adept performance on the glass harp left a significant impression on Gilmour and Samson. In a spontaneous decision fueled by admiration, Gilmour invited Sklyarov to join him on stage for his upcoming performance in St Mark’s Square. Despite Sklyarov’s initial unfamiliarity with Gilmour’s legendary status in the music world, he accepted the invitation, leading to a unique collaboration that would resonate with fans and onlookers.

The following video, though not featuring Sklyarov, belongs to the same tour and highlights the distinctive sound of wine glass music, reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s innovative musical endeavors:

This unexpected collaboration between Gilmour and Sklyarov not only bridged the worlds of classic rock and street performance but also underscored the universality of music as a form of connection and expression. Gilmour’s openness to incorporate Sklyarov’s talent into his performance speaks volumes about his appreciation for music in all its forms, further solidifying his reputation as a musician who transcends genre boundaries.

The concert on 12 August 2006, in spite of the rain, drew a substantial crowd, eager to witness the fusion of Gilmour’s guitar prowess with Sklyarov’s glass harp melodies. The performance became a testament to the enduring power of music to bring people together, creating a memorable evening for everyone present. The collaboration, albeit brief, might have taken a different trajectory had Gilmour and Sklyarov met earlier. This fleeting partnership highlighted the serendipitous nature of music and performance, where spontaneous moments can lead to unforgettable experiences.

David Gilmour’s journey from stepping in for Syd Barrett to his explorative musical endeavors showcases his evolution as an artist committed to pushing the boundaries of music. His ability to blend different musical elements, as seen in his collaboration with Sklyarov, reflects his innovative spirit and deep respect for music’s diverse forms. As Gilmour continues to leave an indelible mark on the music world, his legacy is not just defined by his contributions to Pink Floyd but also by his willingness to explore and embrace the unexpected in the realm of music.

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