About me

During my third year studying MediaMusic in the Netherlands, I encountered a Dutch busker that changed the way I perceived street music completely. His voice and music were so raw and pure, they evoked something in me I’ve rarely felt before. His guitar was slightly out-of-tune and there wasn’t anything virtuosic in the way he played his instrument. Yet, it was these soulful imperfections l that caught my attention and moved me.

I felt strongly that his music had to be heard by others, and offered to record an album of his songs. Just a few weeks later, we met at my university’s recording studio and did just that, and it was the beginning of a special friendship. In the months after, I couldn’t stop thinking about how cool it would be to do this on a bigger scale, not just in one country or city.

A curious and adventurous person at heart, I already knew I wanted to see more places in this world before making choices about where to begin my professional life. I was also finding myself increasingly frustrated by the stresses and financial motivations of the commercial music industry that seemed to detract from the essential soul of the art. I realised this could be the perfect opportunity to take my job and passion on the road, and to do something that felt meaningful. That’s how the “Sounds Like Van Spirit” idea was born – an evolving dream of connecting people and countries through songs, played by musicians who almost no one has ever heard of.

“The essence […] lies not in the headlined heroes … but in the everyday folks who live and die unknown, yet leave their dreams as legacies.”

Alan Lomax

I bought an old ice cream truck, converted it into a rolling recording studio, with a bed and kitchen for everyday living. I found a crowd and a few sponsors that helped me to get started and then, with no idea what the future might hold, I terminated my apartment’s contract and hit the road on a mission to record street musicians from every corner of Europe.

It took me a year longer than I thought, and there were so many moments I wasn’t sure if I could keep going. But now, 2 years later I proudly present to you “Sounds Like Van Spirit – A Collection of Europe’s Pavement Melodies”. The project now continues, with a forthcoming book and feature-length documentary film, hopefully many similar recording adventures to come, and an ever-growing like minded community connecting and sharing experiences and appreciation of street music across Europe, and around the world.

I am deeply thankful for all the incredible artists I met during my journey who not only showed me their art, but welcomed me into their lives, to share friendship, meals, and incredible moments. I’ve tried my best to pass on that feeling to you through an album hand-crafted with love, and a book and film that will take you behind the music and into the lives of these artists, to experience this music and this journey in a deeply personal way.

Who else is involved?

“Sounds Like Van Spirit” has always been rooted in my personal passion. However, it would have been impossible to complete my trans-European mission without the help of countless friends and family members that supported me with expertise, encouragement, and many hours of hard work. Thank you so much!

In the next phase of the project, the creation of the album, book, and film, the team has grown.

Marten Berger

Founder, CEO, Creative Director

Marten Berger is a German music producer, audio engineer and filmmaker. After studying as a composer and sound designer, he initially worked in well-known German recording studios such as the Horus Sound Studio and the Maarwegstudio2 before setting out to archive European street music on vinyl during a two-year trip. During his career, Marten collaborated with producers, musicians and economic bedrocks like Universal Music, SONY BMG, Warner Music, TOYOTA, Tuborg, Shure DACH, Carls Jr., John Tilly (Dire Straits), ELOY, Klima, Berlin Syndrome, Yenga, Carol Jarvis, Karel J Schepers and many more.

Fabian Kusche

General Assistance, Communications

Fabian has been a part of the SLVS team since December 2019 after following the project from the very beginning. He is supporting Marten in nearly all fields including customer support. social media and more.

Fabian is currently studying International Business Management in the Netherlands and he explored his traveling affinity after he spent a year traveling through Australia and Thailand before he started his studies.

Shannon Turner

Editor, Anthropological Advisor

Shannon Turner is a freelance anthropologist, working with participatory methods and visual media to explore, analyze, and communicate social phenomena. Her work frequently straddles the boundaries of social research, film/video production, and writing. Previous work includes research on Tracing the City: Interventions of Art in Public Space, a collaborative research-creation project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and a co-authored chapter in the book Urban Encounters: Art and the Public. She holds an MSc in Visual Anthropology from Aarhus University.

Hendrik Landwehr

Motion & Print Design

Hendrik is an interdisciplinary creator of digital media. He tells stories with moving images, interactive media and sounds.
After his master in digital media he founded Mach Dich Bunt – a company responsible for the europe-wide holi powder hype starting in 2012.
They designed the whole product from scratch with the premise of being “Made in Germany”.
Even though he learned a lot during that time it was not his favouritve activity to keep a company running and to deal with logistics and production.
So he left the company to focus on his passion which is 3D and Motion Design. Ever since he is helping international companies to depict their imagination.In his spare time he creates art for international transformational festivals, writes electronic music and plays games.

Klaus Berger


Being the father of Marten, Klaus Berger wanted to help to bring the continent together by sharing music from different places. Recently retired he spends his free time shipping vinyl records, CD albums, tote bags, and more around the world.

Participating Musicians

This project is fundamentally about music, and I am so grateful I could dedicate two years of my life to seeking out and working with incredibly talented musicians, who always treated me always like a dear friend wherever I went. This is an experience I will never forget.

Project partners

De Nieuwe Oost, Shure DACH