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Unplugged music in the streets: You, too, can make it!

Think of joyfully singing old Beatles tunes on a road trip with friends, or stomping your feet to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” at a sporting event. How did it make you feel? Connected? Energized? Part of something larger than yourself? You don’t need to be told that music, with or without lyrics, has a powerful binding energy.

Think of the ubiquity of military bands, across history and geography. With their horns and drums, their mission has always been to pump up the energy, cohere the troops, and communicate across distance. Why not use some of that energy in our efforts to fight the good fights for the world we want to see? And you can help make that music!

An iconic graphic in the 70’s punk scene proclaimed, “This is chord, this is another, this is third… now, form a band.” And why not start a band? More specifically, why not start – or join – an unplugged, all-weather band that can play rain or shine, to help lift up voices and rally the troops? It’s a good antidote and complement to the fight, to bring life affirming energy to other people and to yourself, too. There’s immediate gratification. And as someone once observed about the music of Wagner, “[our] music is better than it sounds!”

So, what does it take to start an unplugged band for marches, protests, celebrations? It turns out, not a lot. Someone transmits some musical know-how and tunes emerge. There are at least three bands in town that would be glad to support would-be players:

Artesian Rumble Arkestra.  Organized for “the socially just and the just social”, this band hosts a public jam on Fridays at 5:00 near the Kissing Statue, between the Oyster House and Childhood’s End, in support of the long-standing Peace Vigil. All are welcome to play at this jam, and, if there is a mutual fit, maybe become members. There is no such thing as a wrong note on the dock.  

Sticks and Bones. This women/LGBTQQIA- led, multigenerational, all weather street band of musicians is committed to providing sonic energy for a more just and joyful world. Absolute beginners are welcome. Sticks and Bones is recruiting new members to add to their ranks.

Samba Olywa. Sometimes just adding infectious rhythms on the street is a political act in and of itself. To be inside that rhythm machine is a dream. Samba Olywa has been a gateway drug for many musicians in town. They are recruiting.

Many people in these bands had never played instruments before hopping in. You could do it. Even a drum bucket line with a few groovy rhythms can energize our quest for the world we want to see. The more bands the better! Now, go start – or join- a band!

Becky Liebman is a longtime supporter of WIP and passionate believer in people’s ability to make joyful, musical noise, even if they’ve yet to discover that happy fact themselves.

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