TORONTO – One of two accordion players who have been performing the hit song “Despacito” on Toronto subway trains will soon face a justice of the peace.
The men have drawn mixed reactions from commuters in recent days after videos of their performances circulated online. The pair had been warned to stop or risk being fined, as busking on trains is not allowed.
Enforcement officers with the Toronto Transit Commission caught one of the men on Monday after boarding a train and hearing the familiar melodies of the summer hit, a spokesman said.
“They caught him red-fingered in the act of doing something he shouldn’t be doing, which is playing music on the TTC,” Stuart Green said in an interview.
Those who want to busk on TTC property must be approved before they can perform in designated areas, Green said.
The enforcement officers could have issued the accordion player an automatic fine of $235, but they chose the more lenient option – issuing a summons for the player to appear before a justice of the peace.
“Yesterday the guy was very respectful, was very polite,” Green said.
“He was asked to move along and he did. So, you know, our officers took that into account in how they handled it.”
WATCH: One of the ‘Despacito brothers’ issued court summons by TTC
The accordion players, who Green believes are brothers, have caused fans and critics to share their opinions online.
One subway rider tweeted, “thank you accordion man on the subway for making this rainy commute home a little more entertaining.”
“Never stop playing. The accordion makes the most beautiful, positive music. Something we all need more of,” another tweeted after the bust.
Others, however, were less receptive to the performances.
“I’m getting a little tired of this Despacito accordion player riding the subway. Nothing fails to sour me faster,” one wrote, pre-bust.
Green said the buskers are still something of a mystery – English is not their first language, and Green said he doesn’t know where they come from originally.
“Our guess is that perhaps they’re from somewhere that this is allowed,” he said.
“Despacito,” by Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee, became the most viewed clip of all-time on YouTube last summer and the most-streamed track of all-time. However, the record-breaking video did not feature vocals by Canadian pop star Justin Bieber that appeared on a remix.