HONK!: A Street Band Renaissance of Music and Activism, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


A Street Band Renaissance of Music and Activism, 1st Edition

Edited by Reebee Garofalo, Erin T. Allen, Andrew Snyder


296 pages

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pub: 2019-12-20
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HONK! A Street Band Renaissance of Music and Activism describes the exciting revival of street bands—particularly brass and percussion ensembles—and examines how this fast-growing and transnational phenomenon mobilizes communities to reimagine public spaces, protest injustice, and assert their activism. Through the joy of participatory musicmaking, HONK! bands foster active musical engagement in street protests while encouraging grassroots organization, representing a manifestation of cultural activity that exists at the intersections of community, activism, and music. This collection of twenty essays considers the parallels between the diversity of these movements and the diversity of the musical repertoire these bands play and share.

In five parts, musicians, activists, and scholars voiced in various local contexts cover a range of themes and topics:

  • History and Scope
  • Repertoire, Pedagogy, and Performance
  • Inclusion and Organization
  • Festival Organization and Politics
  • On the Front Lines

The HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands began in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 2006 as an independent, non-commercial, street festival. It has since spread to three continents. HONK! A Street Band Renaissance of Music and Activism explores the phenomenon that inspires street bands and musicians to "change the world" and provide musical, social, and political alternatives in modern times.

Table of Contents

Part I: History and Scope / 1. The Many Roads to HONK! and the Power of Brass and Percussion (Reebee Garofalo) / 2. Autonomous Street Carnival Blocos and Reinventing Citizenship in Rio de Janeiro (Laurine Sézérat) / 3. Jericho’s Harvest: A Short History of Brass Bands as a Voice for Political Opposition in Europe (Gregg Moore) / 4. Protest, Polyvalence, and Indirection in Benin's Brass Band Music (Sarah Politz) / 5. Japanese Perspective on HONK! West: A Conversation with Ōkuma Wataru of Jinta-la-Mvta (Marié Abe) / Part II: Repertoire, Pedagogy, and Performance / 6. Musical Eclecticism, Cultural Appropriation, and Whiteness in Mission Delirium and HONK! (Andrew Snyder) / 7. Learning on Parade with the School of HONK (Kevin Leppmann) / 8. From Page to Performance: Learning a Song in an Italian Multi-Level Activist Brass Band (Mario Giuseppe Camporeale) / Part III: Inclusion and Organization / 9. Leadership, Inclusion, and Group Decision-Making in HONK! Bands (Meghan Elizabeth Kallman) / 10. Building Connections While Maintaining the Band: The Challenging Politics of Inclusion in Activist Work (Naomi Podber) / 11. Horns and Hers: The Subversion of Gendered Instrumentation in the HONK! Movement (Becky Liebman) / 12. Collective Effervescence and the Political Ethos of the HONK! Movement (Geoffrey Lee) / Part IV: Festival Organization and Politics / 13. HONK! and the Politics of Performance in Public Space (John Bell) / 14. Why Do We Honk? How Do We Honk?: Politics, Antipolitics, and Activist Street Bands (Rosza Daniel Lang/Levitsky with Michele Hardesty) / 15. Pittonkatonk and Valuing Music as a Public Good (Richard Randall) / 16. The Key of Rest: HONK!’s Hospitality Activism (Mike*Antares) / Part V: On the Front Lines / 17. Infernal Noise: Sowing a Propaganda of Sound (Jennifer Whitney) / 18. Listening for Lefebvre: Chant Support, Sonic Disobedience, and the City as "Oeuvre" (Abigail Ellman) / 19. Syncopation Against the Occupation: Handling High-Risk Situations as an Activist Street Band in Israel-Palestine (Iris Arieli) / 20. Sounding Solidarity at the Suffolk County ICE Immigration Detention Center (Erin T. Allen)

About the Editors

Reebee Garofalo is a member of the Organizing Committee for the Somerville HONK! Festival and a longtime scholar of popular music studies. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Erin T. Allen received her PhD in Ethnomusicology from Ohio State University in 2019.

Andrew Snyder is an ethnomusicologist who received his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 2018.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General