HONK NYC 2017 Festival Artists

Damas de Ferro

Damas de Ferro (“Iron Ladies” in Portuguese) was formed in 2013 out of the desire to create a project that showcased street art and music made by women playing brass and percussion instruments. The band consists of 14 female musicians who play a repertoire of contemporary music in a variety of performance styles, from stage shows to the streets. The group believes strongly in empowering, and all the musicians share a common goal of highlighting and supporting all forms of feminist protest. #yourplaceiswhereveryouwant

New Creations Brass Band

New Creations Brass Band’s talented crew hail from all parts of New Orleans. Brought together by a shared love of making great new music, they’ve studied, played with, and lived around several greats, like Shannon Powell, Shamarr Allen, and Trombone Shorty, and have worked with several other active second-line brass bands in New Orleans.

New Creations brings people together with their groovy, funky music, keeping the brass band style and the music of New Orleans alive as well as making new music of their own and sharing it with the universe!

Plezi RaRa

Plezi Rara is a new modern day haitian rara band from Brooklyn, NY. Our band is made up of native haitians looking for a way to strive and survive away from our motherland Haiti. Together we learned to take our struggles and problems, and put them into our music to create the sweet sounds of enjoyment, fun, and plenty of festivities. Our main goal is to spread the love the haitian way.

The Nevermind Orchestra

A phrenetic, psycho-jazz-grunge ensemble that reimagines the works of Nirvana through the lens of a modern brass band. Comprised of accomplished NYC musicians who have played with prestigious ensembles ranging from the Metropolitan Opera to the Commodores to Bruce Springsteen, the group has been leading grunge second-line marches on the stages, streets, and subways of the northeast since 2012. All of the classic Nirvana staples as well as some of their lesser-known covers and deep cuts receive a fresh but instantly recognizable overhaul with elements from funk-rock to blues to reggae to bhangra — but each is delivered with the same raw emotion displayed by Kurt, Krist, and Dave back in the day. As Time Out New York touts, “There’s no shortage of Nirvana cover bands floating around, but none are quite like the Nevermind Orchestra.'”

Pussy Grabs Back: The Band

Formed on the eve of the 2016 election, Pussy Grabs Back is one part feminist feline marching band, one part queerdo, and 100% resistance. PGB has marched all the way from Trump Tower to the Atlantic Ocean to bring a message of hope and love to those trapped within the Cheeto Regime.

Veveritse Brass Band

Veveritse Brass Band finds its inspiration in the drama of the Romany (Gypsy) music of the Balkans. With an eye to the powerful exactitude of these melodies, Veveritse makes room for play. Slippery, even squirrelly, they may start off running almost too fast, only to drop the bottom out. What begins sonorous and jagged straightens up, carrying audiences into the night, dancing and sighing. With two trumpets, a saxophone, four mid-horns, a tuba, and two drummers, they are ten deep, creating not a wall of sound but a loud tapestry. Veveritse, with it’s theatrical bent, has already scored two different nights of films, and played numerous benefits, parties, and clubs.

Hungry March Band

Hungry March Band (HMB) fuses street-band traditions with raw power and performance-art antics. Founded in 1997 for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, this award-winning ensemble has shared their creativity with audiences throughout the United States, Canada, South America, and Europe. They’ve got a well-earned a reputation for mythical revelry, playing urban parades, rural raves, subway parties, eccentric weddings, art processionals, and many other forays into the territories of the free spirit. The band’s huge sound links traditional big band with free jazz and connects the sonic space between punk rock and global brass. This is what it looks like when the majorettes go AWOL, team up with the band geeks, and throw an after-hours costumed dance party in the town square.

The L Train Brass Band

Founded by tubist Ryan Hall and trombonist David Joseph in March 2017, The L Train Brass Band quickly grew from a small, second-line brass band interest group on Meetup.com to a thriving community of nearly 40 contributing members. In June, they won honorable mention for Best Music Group at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. This rotating, ragtag ensemble is excited by the opportunity to play anywhere and everywhere, covering a wide variety of music, from pop and hip-hop to funk and traditional Dixieland jazz to eclectic original charts. No matter where this train ends up, the primary goals are “fun first” and “keeping it weird.”

Sxip Shirey

Sxip Shirey is a composer, performer, and producer based in New York City. His most recent release, A Bottle of Whiskey and a Handful of Bees, was hailed by NPR Music as “A 21st-Century Musical Creation.” He tours internationally with the circus theatre spectacle “LIMBO.” He’s performed for Madonna, played at TED, wrote music for Neil Gaiman’s short film Statuesque, and has presented his choral, “The Gauntlet,” in city parks for Make Music New York. Shirey is a 2011 United States Artist Fellow. He is currently working on the music for Excuse Me There’s a Faggot in My Closet, a new musical by Craig Harwood.

Funkrust Brass Band

Funkrust is a 15piece brass band founded and led by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Phil Andrews (Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Gay Panic, Apocalypse Five & Dime) with vocalist and co-songwriter Ellia Bisker (Sweet Soubrette, Charming Disaster). In the past two and half years, the band has appeared at Halloween and New Year’s Eve events at the McKittrick Hotel (home of Sleep No More), underground parties at Brooklyn’s Rubulad and Gemini & Scorpio, the electronic music festival Mysteryland USA, a large-scale art performance at the Queens Museum, the O+ Festival in Kingston, NY, the World Maker Faire, and HONK NYC. Their sound blends post-punk, disco, EDM, metal, funk, Balkan brass, and New Orleans second line, while Bisker’s lyrics evoke a postapocalyptic world where a brass band just might be our last hope. Featuring snazzy uniforms, choreography, megaphone vocals, and all original compositions, they are a spectacle not to be missed. NPR Music called their Tiny Deskvideo for “Zoology”, which was recorded live in the Bedford-Nostrand G station, “a muscular but light-hearted fanfare with some slick choreography. It seems destined to shake a little funk into a few sleepy commuters’ rides.”

Frank London

So far in 2017, trumpeter/composer Frank London has premiered his opera Hatuey Memory of Fire in Havana, played with Itzhak Perlman, been featured with the Klezmatics at Budapest’s Sziget Festival, toured Japan with Jinta-la-Mvta, released the Glass House Orchestra’s Astro-Hungarian Jewish Music on Piranha records, been guest soloist at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, co-created the international immigrant orchestra Welcoming Strangers in Boston, taught music at Seoul National University and at London’s SOAS, restaged his oratorio A Night in the Old Marketplace for the Folksbiene, been featured artist at the Yiddish Book Center’s Yidstock, worked with Glen Berger on Underneath the Lintel and On Words & Onwards for Minneapolis’ Theater Latté Da, recorded on Zion 80 and J Hacha de Zola’s new albums, been featured artist with Yanky Lemmer at Warsaw’s Singer Festiwal, and is playing and music-directing his original music for Karin Coonrod’s Merchant of Venice at Peak Performances… and there are still four months to go.

Artists for a Free World Marching Band

The sound of resistance! In the dark of these times, we use our art to light the way.

The 3 Million Majority Marching Band

Founded shortly after the 2016 election, The 3 Million Majority Marching Band reminds all who are opposed to racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia that WE are still the American majority, despite the current political paradigm. Led by Sousaphonist Jared Engel, the group raises the decibel level of New York’s social-justice rallies and marches. They quickly received notoriety for their “morale-boosting music” which was reported on in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town.” Like Joshua equipped with his shofar, The 3 Million Majority Marching Band blows down the walls and towers of oppression with an exuberant and mighty sound.

Raya Brass Band

Since 2008 Raya Brass Band has energized clubs, international festivals, rooftop parties, and subway cars with its hard-driving, original brass band music. The six members of the band bring their unique voices to the group, creating a sound informed as much by their love for the fierce and seductive music of the Balkans as it is by New Orleans brass bands, punk rock, and global music. Featuring trumpet, sax, accordion, tuba, and percussion, this band wails, sweats, and shouts alongside its audience.

Batala New York

Batalá New York is a part of a global arts project made up of over 30 bands around the world. The music of Batalá originates in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil. The international Batalá family owes its existence to Giba Gonçalves, a percussionist, composer and choreographer from Salvador. The first representation of Batalá in New York City, known as ‘Batalá NYC,’ was born in 2012. In the summer of 2016, under new leadership, this band incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, now called simply ‘Batalá New York.’

Kenny Wollesen – Wollesonic Labs – Sonic Massage

Wollessonic is a collective of instrument makers and musicians. The project is spearheaded by percussionist Kenny Wollesen. Their Sonic Massage is an ultra-low volume, acoustic, kaleidophonic, surround-sound experience. Audience members are invited to lie down on yoga mats while “sonic massagers” move throughout the space delivering sounds directly into the ears. Wollesonic is their marching band – a band that plays anywhere & anytime. MEAT have been known to play on bridges, mountain tops, beaches, in elevators, on Grammy nominated records, on huge uptown stages & in dinky downtown clubs. MEAT is a spontaneous, organic, ephemeral pleasure-filled situation!