This mixtape can be shared and downloaded more easily at Archive.org
This weeks if a song could be freedom…mixtape, of radical brass bands, was made by Phil Andrews. Phil has been an organizer for over 15 years and currently the Director of Retail Organizing for the RWDSU/UFCW. He is also a musician and songwriter, and has been in many bands including Funkrust Brass Band, Gay Panic, Glittered and Mauled, Apocalypse Five & Dime and most notably has been a member of the radical marching band the Rude Mechanical Orchestra for over 10 years.
- Brass Liberation Orchestra – “#Not1More Deportation with “El Matador” – Matador
The BLO has been playing picket lines and protests in San Francisco for over 10 years. This recording of the BLO shows the integration of chants to the beat of the song, a frequent activist street band tactic.
- Rude Mechanical Orchestra – “Smash a Bank Polka”
The RMO formed just before the 2004 Republican National Convention and have played hundreds of protests and radical events in the following 10 years and are well loved in the NYC progressive and radical community. They consider themselves to be a sister band of the BLO and share many songs between them. This tune is from their second album and is an RMO original.
- Infernal Noise Brigade – “Praha”
The INB was a radical drum corps in Seattle that incorporated horns, megaphone vocals and an amplified sound cart. They were active in the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle and were mainstays of large anti-globalization protests around the world in the early 2000s. They were very popular in activist circles and continue to influence protest bands today.
- What Cheer? Brigade – “Ja Helo”
This song is a cover of an Infernal Noise Brigade song, showing their lasting influence, from Providence’s WC?B which is generally known more for their dance party riots than street actions.
- Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society – “Ya Move Ya Lose”
SLSAPS is one of Boston’s longest running community band and the founders of the annual Honk festival of activist street bands.
- The Pinettes – “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
The Pinettes are an all female New Orleans brass band that brings a touch of irreverence and attitude to the male dominated scene of second line brass bands. This song was recorded at the Honk festival, which puts out a live recording each year recorded during the festival with songs from many of the participating bands.
- Eris Band – “Book of Five”
Also from New Orleans, The Eris Band is the huge, unwieldy sonic engine of the anarchic, mysterious Krewe of Eris, which leads an unpermitted fantasical parade every year during the Mardi Gras season.
- New Birth Brass Band – “Who Dat Called Da Police”
New Orleans second line brass band. To continue our New Orleans journey, this New Birth song calls out snitches and can be read as an anti gentrification song, as the influx of wealthier, whiter residents to New Orleans post-Katrina has resulted in greater police harassment of brass bands and second lines.
- Atlanta Sedition Orchestra – “Bella Ciao”
ASO is Atlanta’s radical marching band, and the song Bella Ciao is a Italian partisan anthem and a standard amongst brass bands.
- Veveritse – “2 Exclusive”
Veveritse is a Brooklyn-based band that plays in the Balkan and Eastern European style, which has exploded in popularity amongst both political and non-political bands.
- The Rhythms of Resistance – “Stop the Deportations”
Leaving the US for a moment, Rhythms of Resistance is an international, mostly European network of radical samba bands who share common music and calls, allowing for easy movement of musicians between locations and formation of group
– “Too Drunk to Fuck”
Also in Europe, Titubanda are the whimsical pranksters of Rome’s street band scene. Their repertoire includes surprises such as this rollicking cover of the Dead Kennedys classic.
Cakalak Thunder is the musical backbone of the progressive movement in Greensboro and the rest of North Carolina.
Brass Liberation Orchestra
– “Durga Beat / We Shall Overcome”
We’ll finish up with one more song from the BLO. Here’s their dancey, joyful version of We Shall Overcome.