New Orleans Brass Bands

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The relationship between the brass bands of the New Orleans and the city itself is distinctly symbiotic. Brass bands have developed as a result of the unique racial, cultural, and historic background of the city. New Orleans’ folklore is intrinsically tied to the musical tradition, even to an international degree. The brass bands are a reflection of their environment. However, that environment is marred with the trappings of both structural violence and racial marginalization. Structural violence refers to the way social structures disadvantaged individuals. Racial marginalization occurs when a racial group is denied any degree of power. This violence and marginalization severely impacted the history and musicians of the brass bands, leading them to develop a message of subversion. New Orleans brass bands serve as both a product and agent of history, completely linked to the New Orleans black experience. Their ancestor would be the Sunday gatherings of slaves in Congo Square, which served to unite Africans in communication…show more content…
The brass bands allowed their communities to gain agency and speak with a voice of survival and authenticity. The institutions of for-profit incarceration, substandard healthcare, underfunded schools have disadvantaged the black communities greatly by providing a breeding ground for interpersonal violence. The brass bands perform songs that reflect their communities, that voice their frustration, suffering, anger, and most of all, their reality. In response to particularly violent murders, silent parades were staged in protest, to present a unified front of dissatisfaction. Their musical instruments double as instruments of communication, yet the lack of music was the most profound message. By staying silent, there performed the ultimate subversion. Now, as ever, the brass bands are a form of purposeful social

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