Vendor playlist

Street paper vendors across the world have been selecting their favourite tracks

Hero image

The International Network of Street Papers, of which Big Issue North is a part, has been asking street paper vendors around the world the question: if they could give a song as a present this Christmas, which song would they choose, and why? The result is a track list of songs as chosen by almost 100 vendors, from 38 street papers, across 22 countries.

Teruo Irishima (pictured above), a Big Issue Japan vendor who sells in Osaka, was 14 years old when he started to play guitar. He has chosen music by Masayoshi Takanaka. “His songs encourage me to work hard, today and always. His guitar calms me down and makes me feel comfortable.”

Luís Lázaro Silva Nascimento, who sells Aurora da Rua, in Salvador, Brazil, chose a traditional Brazilian song, Revolta do Olodum, which “talks about our people and the injustices of slavery, even now, in our country. The music’s cadence and speed evokes the African drums of slavery times.”

Click above to see a selection of the tracks on You Tube above, or listen on Spotify here.

In Manchester, Dave, who sells Big Issue North outside Victoria train station, dedicated his choice of Hero by Enrique Iglesias to all streetpaper vendors. “Everybody who is on the streets out selling a magazine, who has come off drugs or alcohol or is dealing with another illness, is a hero.”

Sylvia Williams, sells One Step Away in Philadelphia and has chosen Just Like You by Keyshia Cole. “The song talks about you looking into the mirror and finding out who you are and what you are in life. Now I can look in the mirror since I’m not using anymore – because I used to run past the mirror, back and forth, back and forth – I couldn’t look in it, because I looked like a hot mess. But now I look good and feel good.”

Courtesy of the International Network of Street Papers (

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