The Beauty of HONK!

No horn? No problem. Here are some shakers.

No rhythm? No problem. Just make a joyful noise.

You don’t have to even play an instrument; you can dance or juggle or do a hand-stand, etc. The only limit is your imagination.

Anyone can be involved in HONK! – literally, anyone. Among the many characteristics that make the HONK! street band movement beautiful is its inclusivity.

As Tim Sars, of Vancouver’s The Carnival Band, is fond of saying to anyone around to listen: “You’re all in the band.”

The Carnival Band’s website says further: “We believe community music is grounded in collaboration, with the aim of empowering the individuals involved.”  They invite anyone with an interest, even loaning instruments and providing instruction.

The Party Band from Lowell, Massachusetts says, “Open rehearsals encourage players of all skill levels and dedication to attend and join our cause, none are turned away.”

In Toronto, you can come play with Street Brass. We don’t have instruments to lend, sadly, but we can hook you up with some spoons at the very least.

Beyond being directly involved in the music-making, the second key aspect of “inclusivity” involves the participatory nature of the performance, the breaking down of the (very common) barrier between audience and performer. “Bands don’t just play for the people; they play among the people and invite them to join the fun” (honkest.org).

There are so many divisive, polarizing aspects to the world. HONK! actively thwarts this. On the one hand celebrating tremendous diversity in expression (musical and otherwise), HONK! is one tribe and openly invites you to be part of it.

HONK! ON (HONK! Ontario) is July 26-28 in Toronto (details TBA).

HONK ON Postcard

Advertisements

The Sound of HONK!

One of the things I absolutely love about the HONK! world is its musical eclecticism. The predominant unifying factor is the general timbre, which emanates from the use of brass  instruments, saxophones and percussion (other woodwinds and mobile instruments like accordion are also common – I even saw one musician playing electric bass with an amp on a little trailer!)

However, in terms of musical idioms or the kinds music played, pretty much anything goes.  According to the HONK! Fest website:

“bands draw inspiration from sources as diverse as Klezmer, Balkan and Romani music, Brazilian Samba, Afrobeat and Highlife, Punk, Funk, and Hip Hop, as well as the New Orleans second line tradition, and deliver it with all the passion and spirit of Mardi Gras and Carnival.” [honkfest.org]

That’s a lot of fun music right there.  If you go to the HONK! website and check out the bands that have been involved, you can follow links to their sites to hear samples of what they play.

Now go hear some HONK! [Band List]