In Davos, he's the piano man

Piano player Barry Colson, at the keyboard in the Hotel Europe in Davos, Switzerland.

TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: When the folks at Davos knock off for the day, when workshops on the future of capitalism are done, there's no shortage of things to do. The nightlife goes on into the wee small hours.

Christopher Werth headed for some of the piano bars in town.


[Sounds of footsteps walking on snow]

Christopher Werth: Walk through the snow-covered streets, and it seems that at every turn, there's a lounge with someone poised above the ivories. And all around, patrons are clinking glasses and passing out business cards.

And then there's the lounge at the Hotel Europe, one of the nicer hotels in town, and a magnet for Davos attendees.

Barry Colson: Let's do a good sexy song right now. It's a song from Bill Withers.

[Colson singing "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone".]

Barry Colson lives in Canada, but he's been coming to Davos for the past 17 years just to play during the World Economic Forum.

Colson: There is no other bar in town like this place. There is none. There are many a-banker and CEO who have sang with me and danced, and even people danced on the piano years ago.

Colson says Peter Gabriel is known to sit at the bar, and even Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, showed up the other night. But with so many piano bars in town, I thought I'd go size up the competition. This was the scene just down the street.

[Sound of synthesized keyboard music.]

Aside from a small group trading stories about their "wildest Davos moments," all the other tables are empty, and no one is dancing. So I made my way back to where Colson was just launching into another number.

Colson, singing "Tequila Sunrise": It's another tequila sunrise, staring slowly across the sky.

Colson says the thing he likes about this bar is that, wealthy or not, if even for just one night, everyone is on the same level.

Colson: You know, whether they be a banker, or a person that's just working at the hotel down the street, they all come up, they all sing, they all have a great time. You know, it's sort of a place where it's like Switzerland, it's very neutral.

Of course, in the morning, the bankers will go back to rubbing shoulders with world leaders, and everyone else will just be left with a bad hangover.

In Davos, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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