Rhythms of Resistance

Target group: 
Group size: 
Material: 
percussion drums of different kind. The minimal set consists of single (not connected to each other) drums: low surdo (lowest bass sound) plus soft-beater sticks, mid surdo (higher bass sound) plus soft-beater sticks, high surdo (highest bass sound) plus soft-beater sticks, repenique (high tune-producing sound) plus sticks, snare\caixa (loudest metal-string sound) plus sticks, tamborim (multiple flexible rods for a loud and sharp high „crack“) plus a tamborim stick, agogo (two bells).

Existent groups of Rhythms of Resistance (RoR) are the network of action samba bands, playing for all kinds of socio-political and ecological causes. It exists to actively criticize and confront any form of domination, exploitation, discrimination or oppression and choose tactical frivolity and/or other forms of creative protest as a way to express rage and indignation of drumming participants.

Replication of these ideas would be a requirement if you want to be a part of the network. Agree with them? In this case - creation of your band is possible under next principles:

-  anti-hierarchical and egalitarian: striving to avoid all possible hierarchies (i.e., class, experiential, informational..) in our bands to develop sustainable structure where everyone feels equal and comfortable to express;

- anti-capitalist: striving not to replicate capitalist reproduction system within our bands due to critical view towards consumption, competition, unavoidable exploitation and other. Instead we try to create structures most acceptable for everyone which means we do not have any participation fee, all the band resources are communal, we try to develop solidarity support and egalitarian methods of compensation if needed. That is also the reason why, for example, we try to create d.i.y. instruments or reuse old ones;

- anti-sexist and anti-racist: striving for maximum accessibility for all genders and races (also ages and classes) in bands where different people feel comfortable and equally valued. This principle implies reflections about dynamics in the group and creation of safe space for everyone to be able to speak out their issues related as well as learning more on issues of structural domination by your own or collectively;

- fighting for social and ecological justice: striving to support fights against social oppressions or ecological destruction or initiating them. This is the external goal of samba activists using samba as a form of political action.

- tactical frivolity: using methods inspired by carnival to confront and criticize any system of domination. That means we engage humor and dressing up as a technic to distract. At the same time we reject any false opposition between militancy and creative forms of resistance.

- open: striving to spread information about network existing and being open for joining to any people who share our principle.

Interested to join? Research on local bands in your town and try it out!

If there are no such present yet, check out what can help you to start your group:

Preparing a Kick-off meeting

Gather information you consider important for people to know about RoR. Compress essential part in one input and create means which can help you in spreading the info: flyers, posters, stickers, posts in social networks and so on. Do not forget to mention time and spot for meeting and how long discussion could last! Be aware of spreading info in different places attended by different kinds of people if you intend to attract diverse crew.

Before the meeting actually starts, it is important to think about agenda, prepare exercises to introduce people to each other, prepare a space and about other facilitation (moderation) issues.

The kick-off meeting

Make sure theoretical information is clear, discuss important issues: how you would like to make decisions, do you all understand and agree with principles, what can be your meeting place and time, which instruments you want to use, how do you think you can learn tunes. Collect contacts of the people and agree on communication means.

This meeting can last for hours due to amount of important issues to discuss. It is good also to postpone parts of important discussion for further on and give other people chance to facilitate it.

Keeping the Flow

It is something ideally everyone in the band is responsible for. If you decide that the Principles are actual for you, it is not enough to only state it. Due to imperfections of our world and deep influence of the society, it is in most cases not so easy to be anti-sexist, -racist, -classist egalitarian person, even if we want so. Therefore constant reflections are needed and enough care to keep safe space for people to be able to speak up.

Visuals by: 
Rhythms of Resistance Network
Tip: 
It is not necessary to have proper instruments to play RoR. Most of bands in networks start with d.i.y. temporal decisions which allow starting rehearsals immediately. All the instruments can be substituted by something like a bucket, a can, a lid of the pen keeper, some fabric and tape! If you are curious about how instruments look and sound, find out more here: https://www.rhythms-of-resistance.org/spip.php?rubrique55&lang=en