By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Honk! Rio 2015 festival began in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, August 6th and will continue through Sunday, August 9th with over twenty brass bands, blocos, and groups including international guests performing live and for free in the streets and in various locations throughout the city. In addition to live performances, the festival includes workshops, discussions and a parade of participating marching bands.
Known for its focus on neo-fanfare music, brass bands, activism, and street performances, the Honk! festival originated in Boston, Massachusetts, United States over ten years ago and during the past decade the festival has taken place in New York; Providence, Rhode Island; Austin, Texas; and internationally in Australia, among other locations. This edition marks the festival’s first time in Brazil.
Emphasizing the power of collective action, Honk! relies on local musicians and participants to organize each edition of the festival. Honk! made its way to Rio thanks in part to musician Juliano Pires, a member of the groups Orquestra Voadora and Os Siderais.
During Pires’ performance at the Honk! American festival two years ago, he took note of fanfare’s influence on Brazil’s carnival blocos and after seeing firsthand the social impact made by Honk!, he wanted to bring the festival to Rio.
Currently serving as the Honk! Rio production manager Pires told O Dia; “[Honk!] is a festival that brings together the artists and the community without relying on businesses or the government.” Further underscoring the power of collective action, the participants perform voluntarily and expenses are being met through money raised by crowdfunding.
In total, more than 300 musicians are participating in the events this week in Rio, which are being held in thirteen locations including areas in the city’s Zona Sul (South Zone), Zona Norte (North Zone); in the neighborhoods of Lapa, Centro, Santa Teresa, and Complexo do Alemão; and in the neighboring city of Niterói.
“The intention is to bring more and more groups willing to use the street as a creative space for interacting with the people,” Luane Aires of the group Os Biquínis de Ogodô Recebem as Sungas de Odara, told O Dia, adding, “The number of people interested in learning to play a wind or percussion instrument, or wanting to perform circus activities, has grown. It wasn’t surprising to see so many groups in the project.”
International guests performing as part of the festival include the groups Environmental Encroachment and Mission Delirium from the United States and RIM BAM BUM from Chile.
On Friday, August 8th, RIM BAM BUM will start the day of festival activities by holding a workshop at Hotel da Loucura at 11AM. They will then perform with bands Ôncalo and Os Siderais.
Later in the day at Praça da Harmonia, groups Fanfarra do Mal, BlocAto do Nada, Fanfarrada, Zambalo, Bagunço Móvel, Fanfarra Black Clube, Damas de Ferro, Ôncalo, and Ataque Brasil will perform.
Beginnng at 8:30 PM, Hey Ho Brass Band will perform at Leão Etíope do Méier, followed by bands Pakitos Cuecacuela and Brassil Melody Band. Finally in Bola Preta, the group Os Siderais will perform at 10:30 PM, followed by Rim Bam Bum, Environmental Encroachment, and Mission Delirium.
To learn more about the festival and to see the full schedule and the addresses of event spaces, go to the official website. Organizers note that the schedule is subject to change without warning.