STEALTH MAG ARTICLE: 15 MOMENTS IN SYDNEY HIP HOP BY MARK POLLARD (2001)


2007 Vinyl Edition Cover

2007 Vinyl Edition Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

15 MOMENTS IN SYDNEY HIP HOP

by Mark Pollard
2001 [I think]

LINK @ Stealth Magazine Forum

1. Vaporz Magazine
Vaporz was the first hip hop magazine in the world. Much as Hype was one of the first full colour graf mags in the world, Australia (despite what some may think) has been documenting, innovating and cultivating the culture as long as most. Vaporz was established by Blaze with the first issue being printed in 1988. Initially boasting a cut and paste format, the magazine predates the empire-like The Source and HHC. It was strong with opinion and, despite coming out infrequently, had a grassroots following around the world.

2. Just Us
Case and Scandal’s Just Us formation released the first ever piece of Australian hip hop vinyl in 1988 – “Combined Talent” b/w “My Destiny”. It was pressed independently. Based in Sydney’s outer western suburbs, Just Us and their affiliates were rough, rugged and raw, and pushed an individual Australian identity through their music. Central Station Records then released the group’s “Voice of the Hunted” (with Mentor added to the group) vinyl in the early 90s. Case moved to Malta for a few years, returned and re-formed Just Us with Roamz, and performed at the mighty Contents Under Pressure gig with FWP. Since then Case has been working with Terminal Illness and has produced a track for the upcoming Def Wish Cast album. Roamz is working with the Ascendescents and Mentor moved into metal.

3. Down Under by Law
“Down Under by Law” was a compilation pieced together by Virgin and released in 1988 on vinyl. It was the first Australian hip hop compilation ever released but it seems tainted by the fact that it appeared that Virgin were trying to capitalise on the late-80s boom in hip hop around the world. Spice, West Side Posse and several other artists made appearances.

4. DJ KC and ASK
DJ KC and ASK were two of the most influential and innovative Sydney turntablists/DJs through the late ’80s and into the ’90s. KC was the Australian DMC Champion three times and is renowned for his three turntables showcase. DJ ASK took out the National DMC twice, and was known for brewing up a storm everywhere he went – in many different ways. In 1994 he teamed up with the then-teen-aged DJ Bonez and formed the Cross Fader Raiders. Aside from cassette releases, they put out “Casting Spells on 12s” with Swamp and the battle record “Raiders of the Lost Crate” through DMC in Melbourne. ASK moved to the UK with Renegade Funktrain while KC now runs the United DJ School in Surry Hills.

5. Def Wish Cast
Def Wish Cast are the quintessential Sydney hip hop crew. A lot of groups have made very valuable contributions to the culture but few crews have been as well-rounded and have made such a large impact as Die-C, Sereck and Def Wish. They released the “Mad As a Hatter” vinyl EP in 1992. Subsequently, they were the first group to tour nationally. They then released their album “Knights of the Underground Table” (CD and cassette), which became a manual for Australian hip hop. It was released through Western Sydney-based Random records, who, despite selling in the vicinity of six to eight thousand units, never paid the group. The clip for “A.U.S.T.” gave a face to Australian hip hop and was pivotal in shaping generations to come. Many can still remember seeing it for the first time on Video Hits or Rage.

6. Sound Unlimited Posse
Formerly known as the Westside Posse, Sound Unlimited emerged as the first Australian group to be signed to a major label. They released “A Postcard from the Edge of the Under-Side” through Sony/Columbia in 1992. The release and label backing got them into the charts, played on 2DayFM and spots on all sorts of TV shows such as Vidiot (yeah, you remember that one ú Edan Gaha was the man). They even graced the cover of 3d World, something that few other local acts have achieved mainly because they don’t have Roger Sanchez as their DJ. They were mocked to some degree by the more underground crews, especially with samples such as from Men at Work and a lot of Americanisms. Their success was talked up by labels and media alike, but it is said that it took them almost ten years to pay back their advance to the record label. In this time, they made a name and lineup change (Renegade Funktrain), and seemed to be trying to do an acid-jazz-hip-hop thing five years too late.

7. The Lounge Room and Next Level Records
The Lounge Room was established by Blaze and JU in the early ’90s on the second floor of a Pitt St building (near Liverpool St). It was the first specialist hip hop store in Sydney and provided a daily meeting spot for people to network and satisfy vinyl appetites. The shop later moved to Crown St where it shared premises with X Large and, having been robbed twice and having most of their stock cleaned out, Blaze moved the shop into some spare space in a printer’s workshop just off William St. Next Level Records emerged out of the Lounge Room with Blaze having enough of it all. Dr Phibes set up his shop on Liverpool St where it has been for the past five years. He opened it with a box of records left over from the Lounge Room and a turntable.

8. Easy Bass
Easy Bass boasted their roots in Urban Poets and grew to some degree around the Lounge Room with various members meeting there. Why do people talk about Easy Bass so much? Well, they were known for being devastating freestylers. They offered a different style in sound and content to a lot of what was happening, being a bit more mellow and pensive. They released a handful of tracks on tapes such as “Space Program” (1995). It was just fun hip hop.

9. Tape Culture
It seems amazing to think by today’s standards that Easy Bass sold several hundred cassettes through a handful of outlets in the mid-90s. They have been dubbed and sent to friends the nation over, much in the same way that Koolism’s first few cassettes – “Juss a Brown Fella” and “Bedroom Shit” – were. Everybody dubbed tapes for each other because more often than not the tapes would sell out due both to demand and small print runs. Groups like Fathom, Trey with DJ Bonez, Def Wish Cast and 046 released cassettes that were snapped up. Almost everybody owned a dual-tape stereo instead of today’s CD burners, computers and MP3 players. Bring back tape culture.

10. Basic Equipment
Basic Equipment was a documentary hosted by Sereck and produced by Paul Fenech. It focussed on a handful of groups mainly from Sydney (Trey, Sleek the Elite, FWP, Cross Fader Radiers and so on). It aired at 8.30pm on ABC during the Loud Festival in 1998 which was a government programme aimed at supporting cultural pursuits. It featured various interviews and footage from the Contents Under Pressure gig. Paul Fenech, of course, stars in and produces SBS’s hit series Pizza now which also stars Sleek, while Basic Equipment is the label/crew name under which Sereck does most of his work.

11. Miguel D’Souza
Various media types preceeded Miguel D’Souza (Tim Ritchie on Double J in the late 80s for instance – now the head of Radio National) but few were as vitriolic as the Barry White of Bhangarra Rap. In October 1990, he was involved with getting Sydney’s first hip hop show on air. It was called The Mothership Connection and aired on 2SER every Tuesday afternoon. Within the next year he had started his weekly hip hop column in 3d World called Funky Wisdom. It was from here that he berated, challenged and provoked. Whether you were the government, an academic or an artist, chances are you got a serving, but you would also get your support as, for many years, this was one of the few media outlets that local hip hop had. He followed this route until March 1998 during which time he had penned the odd interview, review and article for mainstream media such as Juice and the Sydney Morning Herald’s Metro section – incursions into the mainstream’s mindset which only came after much persistence. He was known for using big words and was a valuable commentator whose voice really deserves to still be heard.

12. Homebrews
Through XXL/MDS came two local compilations in the mid-90s. “Homebrews” came at a time when larger independent events had started to happen and there was a real sense of momentum building, something that has really only kicked into tangible effect since 2000. Volume 1 of “Homebrews” came out in 1995 with 11 tracks from the likes of Koolism, Groove Terminator, Raph and Ransom while the second installation came out in 1998. Womb-Mind-Speak (several of whom are now working with the Mother Tongues label), Sereck, Brethren, Fathom and DJ Ask made appearances. The majority of tracks were still fairly low-fi compared to what our producers are doing now.

13. Lost Venues
With more events coming through in the mid- to late-90s, sadly some great venues were lost. Kinselas (Taylors Square) which hosted many a show by Meta Bass’n’Breath, Sleek and the massive Contents Under Pressure gig has been converted into a pub. The Globe in Newtown and the Palladium in Kings Cross (an ex-strip club) hosted many a local and international act. Venues of this calibre that allow hip hop events are few and far between in Sydney right now.

14. Urban Xpressions
In a way, the Urban Xpressions hip hop festival gave the community a sense of pride and, importantly, a way to bring together the vastly diverse threads of Sydney hip hop. The first one ran in March of 1998 under the Slingshot banner, with Baba from Meta Bass’n’Breath playing a prominent role. Panel discussions, graf exhibitions, breaking in Hyde Park and the first independent American tour (Mystik Journeymen) featured during the ten days of the inaugural festival. 1999 saw Blackalicious come out for the festival while Jzone and Air Force One came out in April 2000.

15. Community Centres and Workshops
Especially in the past decade, the number of community centres and workshops with some sort of hip hop orientation has become quite high. It can’t be emphasised enough that the work that goes on in these workshops is amazing, and the number of kids who have come through them, picked up hip hop and life skills on their way and have moved on to better things is overwhelming. This is the sometimes-hidden piece of the Sydney hip hop culture puzzle but it does not go unappreciated.

Copyright :s: 2003.

'Reclaim The Lanes' Street Festival In Newtown Sat Feb 13th



Anyone who remember the infamous ‘Reclaim The Street’ protest/parties around Sydney in the late 90’s will know exactly what ‘Reclaim The Lanes’ is all about, for the poor people who missed the magic, here is an idea of what to expect;


Blocked streets,  picnics on the sidewalk, children playing, push-bikes, skateboards & roller-skates, DJ’s, MC’s & live performers playing everything from Dub, Hip Hop, Funk to Psy-Trance. Best of all… colourful people interact and dancing on reclaimed public spaces in the name of …


So spread the luv & spread the word because this ones about the people!!

More info at the Facebook Event

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2759/4327831596_03ee1eb9a1_o.jpg

Reclaim The Lanes, Free Street Festival In Newtown Sat Feb 13th

Anyone who remember the infamous ‘Reclaim The Street’ protest/parties around Sydney in the late 90’s will know exactly what ‘Reclaim The Lanes’ is all about, for the other poor people who missed the magic, here is an idea of what to expect;

Blocked streets,  picnics on the sidewalk, children playing, pushbikes,skateboards & roller-skates, DJ’s, MC’s & live performers playing everything from Dub, Hip Hop, Funk to Psy Trance. & best of all colourful people interact and dancing on reclaimed public space.

Here is some clips to give you an idea of some of the magic.

Spread the luv & spread the word because this ones about the people!!

More info at the Facebook Event

More about ‘Recilaim The Streets’ movement:

Reclaim The Streets SPONTANEOUS STREET BANDE

What do we need more of in our towns? Why street music of course. All agreed then… but where is it?

This lot didn’t wait to be asked. Listen to this on the spot recording of an Italian style wind ‘Bande’ at Sydney’s first RECLAIM THE STREETS Street Party held on the first of November 1997 at Newtown, Sydney. This is a political projection of do-it-yourself.

In a historic display of people-power, thousands of local residents blockaded Enmore Rd. in Newtown to traffic with three huge bamboo tripods, erected a bizarre art-installation sound tower with a dj pumping out psychedelic dance music, built a permaculture garden in the middle of the road and had an all-day street party – dancing, playing street cricket, reading the weekend papers, and generally hanging out in a safe, tree friendly and car-free environment.

“Reclaim The Streets!”

Street music has been around since there has been anything approximating a street. There seem to be three main criteria for playing ‘music for masses, of the masses and by the masses’ on the streets.
1. Celebrate absolutely anything and get completely wrecked. e.g. all that Brazilian stuff.
2. Demonstrate alternative political and social values and get completely wrecked. e.g. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (especially earlier editions)
3. Confirm the status quo of the powerful and get completely wrecked. e.g. The Berlin Love Parade whereby 2 million young kids march around to loud techno music sponsored by McDonalds, Coca Cola and the German Government.

Just before the wind band got going with the music selected on this page, there was a wonderful display of spontaneous ‘clapping’ music at this demo in Sydney. Along with bashing stones together, this kind of activity must go back, in the mists of time, to the earliest notions of what we call music. The street bande is the acoustic expression of the generally poor and unpowerful against the rich and powerful – it’s that simple most of the time.

This is an internet extract from a country that really knows about street bande. Yes indeed, home to the biggest anarchist rallies ever seen, it’s Italy.
JR
(enjoy the crazy automatic digital translation!)

‘The Band Complex “To Toscanini ” is been born in March of 1981 to Settecamini, in the Common one of Rome, a quarter situated on the way Tiburtina. And from the before moving apparition in public, happened in the night of Been born them of 1981, of road of it has been made. From the first successes obtained to the band gatherings in Rome, from S.Pietro Public square for the closing of extraordinary Saint Year (1988).

Between the episodes more meant you that they will remain impressi in the young history of the Band and in the heart of the strumentisti, it is from remembering the encounter with the President of the Italian Republic Sandro Pertini (Quirinale 7 February 1984), the audience that S.s. Pope John Paul II has granted to the Band, in knows it Nerves in Vatican, 20 January 1990, and finally the ” received Prize Sympathy ” in knows it of the Protomoteca in Campidoglio to Rome, to the presence of F.Rutelli Mayor, in the june 1999 and May 2000.
The young age of the strumentisti, the engagements of study of the same ones, the changes worked to you and of territory of the parents, the sacrifices legacies to the tests and the musical participations, the cumulus of the cultural interests and sportswomen and many others vary objective and subjective problems, involve continuous a reciprocation of the musical body and an onerous engagement for the members of the managing committee of the society, always ready to assure the continuity of this precious musical plan, that it enriches Settecamini culturally.
The Band Complex year after year is renewed; in these twenty years are pass to you, between spin of the Band, beyond 300 strumentisti, some of which have caught up professionally goals of high artistic value. Lead musically in this distance, from Masters Scafidi, Florio, Baldassarri and Graziano, for the past, and from the Artistic Director Main Eros Vasconi, coadiuvato from Masters Romaniello Michele and Liano Antonio for the present, let alone from the juvenile passion of Tawny the Antonini President in effective collaboration with the managing committee and the many parents who follow with love this interesting activity of the sons and with the fundamental support of the Parish of S.m. of the Olive tree that, accommodating from always the band body, of it has concurred the increase and still today the survival concurs some.

http://members.xoom.it/bandasciano/link.htm

DIY Carnival: Reclaim the Streets Sydney Style

Posted on Sunday, November 14 @ 00:00:00 EST by Jodi Crome

by Sarah Nicholson

“Last Saturday afternoon, local collective Reclaim the Streets and a couple of thousand of their good friends blocked off traffic and hosted a techno dance party on five blocks of King Street south of Newtown railway station. The event kicked off with a traffic jamming walk from Victoria Park down the centre of Broadway and up the hill to Newtown where four stages were set up in the streets.” (Laanela 7)

“…heaps of people.. blocking off traffic.. music.. flags and banners..” “…couches, dj’s, bands, bikes, tricycles, scooters, dancing, fire twirling…” “It’s a party protest rally.”(Author interviews)

Semi-spontaneous, somewhat disorganised, Reclaim the Streets(RTS)’s celebratory uprising is street party as protest.

Evolving from the UK anti-roads movement, the first RTS collective formed in London in 1991. By May 1998, global RTS events, described as a “collision of love, rage, carnival and revolution, politics and party” (SchNEWS 168), were reported as occurring in thirty-seven cities across the world, in protest not just against car culture, but against the social and environmental costs of free market globalisation (SchNEWS 168). In Sydney RTS events began in November 1997, and from the first were firmly situated as part of a worldwide movement.

In RTS, the car is essentially used as a symbol to point to much broader oppressions. The main RTS website speaks of the development of car culture from historical and ideological perspectives. They posit that the proliferation of the automobile, originally conceived as a luxury good designed to give advantage to select individuals, has transformed urban landscapes and social spaces, with the power to bring cities to a halt. RTS proposes that the solution is not just comfortable mass transportation, but the creation of habitable cities sustained by the social fabric of the community: “…more urban leisure space… livable neighbourhoods…”(Author interviews).

In the essay “The Evolution of Reclaim the Streets”, the UK’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 is located as a key event which, in criminalising civil protest in the UK, was a motivational force which united the very groups, such as travellers, ravers, anti road activists and hunt saboteurs, that it sought to repress. It also worked to politicise the rave scene through locating raves in the context of public protests, with clauses of the act directed at open-air events featuring amplified music, “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”. The organisation or attendance of such unlawful events in the UK became a punishable offence.

RTS acknowledges the historical trajectory, which connects the movement with popular festivals in the form of carnival and revolutionary uprisings. (Evolution). The carnival is community organised for its own participatory pleasure; the distinctions between observer and participant are undermined, the event taking place outside existing social institutions and happening on the street in real time. The carnival is pluralistic and diverse, accessible and excessive, exaggerating and parodying, inverting norms and challenging hierarchies.

In terms of the carnivals delight in the body, RTS does not disappoint. Seventeen RTS events, centered around a thumping sound-system, have occurred in Sydney to date. Doof, an RTS characteristic, is an onomatopoeic term describing “…the bass-driven kick drum .. of techno music.” (Strong in St John 72). The experience of Doof emphasises what Brecht termed jouissance or sensual pleasure. The event reverberates with the kinaestethic pleasures of dancing with others on the street, sparking “powerful, intense vibes” (Author interview) felt in a rush of adrenalin, joy, and empowerment. In RTS, dance acts as an embodied statement of resistance and release, a strategy of “…explicitly and deliberately [employing] feelings of unfettered pleasure in the service of an oppositional critique of global capitalism.” (Luckman in St John 207). In this sense, the jouissance generated at RTS is the epitomy of Hakim Bey’s theory of uprising as peak experience. These extra-ordinary “…moments of intensity give shape and meaning to the entirety of a life. The shaman returns — you can’t stay up on the roof forever — but things have changed, shifts and integrations have occurred — a difference is made” (Bey). These shifts, as Bey posits them, allow for fluidity and change within the social sphere, a notion which challenges Bakhtin’s seminal ideas on the carnival.

Carnival, it has been argued, is used by the prevailing order as a safety valve to regulate social pressure. The inversion of the acceptable is always bounded by a return to the acceptable. Thus carnival, as temporary release, is considered to dissipate the potential for real revolution, effectively containing the energy for change. (Stallybrass & White in Gelder & Thornton, 1997) But Bey, sees “the return” differently. Characterised as an uprising of awakening rather than conflict, Bey describes events such as RTS as Temporary Autonomous Zones: “…an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen before the State can crush it.” (Bey).

h An organiser from United System, producer of free festivals in the UK, commented that, “The whole point of festivals is that they are temporary autonomous zones… they are self organising… Nobody is told where to go or what to do, everybody just does their own bit, meaning that they are much more forceful as citizens.” (Brass & Koziell 89). This style of autonomous behaviour, described as DIY culture, emerged as part of a new aggressive environmentalism. The anti-capitalist DIY movement encompasses such issues such as land and civil rights, employment and sustainable practices. Its stated aims are to empower individual action, to engage with building community through networking, sharing of information, and gathering resources outside the usual parameters of profit orientation. (Brass & Koziell 8)

Reclaim the Streets advocacy of DIY as a tactic, reflects their “… belief in a society where people take responsibility for their own actions. It is about enabling people to unite as individuals with a common aim…Reclaim the Streets does not make demands on some one else, such as the government. We want direct action to be seen as the norm, the standard way to take action” (Moxham 8-9). RTS manifests as a loose sub-cultural inter-connected network working within broadly defined ideological boundaries, the unity of which is a resistance to the dominant order. As an event, DIY operates in practice, through participant action: “…people bring their carpet and their drums and bridge that gap between the performer and the participant… people create their own entertainment as well as be entertained”(Author interview).

Through bringing people together to celebrate and affirm an issue in a creative and positive manner, Reclaim the Streets moved away from street rallies which have the expression of anger as their primary method of expressing a desire for change. The carnivalesque DIY style of Reclaim the Streets in empowering people to act creatively and autonomously through collective non hierarchical process of creation can be seen as transmitting new modes of social and cultural production and is particularly significantly in terms of its evolution of traditional forms of protest.

Works Cited Bey, Hakim. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Autonomedia., 1985.
Bollen, Johnathon. “Sexing the Dance at Sleaze Ball.” The Drama Review 40 (1996).
Brass, E., and Koziell, S Poklewski. “Gathering Force : DIY Culture.” The Big Issue Writers (1997).
Gelder, K., and S. Thornton, eds. The Subcultures Reader. London: Routledge, 1997.
Kershaw, B. The Politics of Performance. London; New York: Routledge, 1992.
Kirby, E. T. “The Shamanistic Origins of Popular Entertainments.” Ritual, Play and Performance. Seabury; New York: Schechner & Schumans, 1976.
Laanela, Mike. “Reclaimed- The Streets.”City Hub Sydney. 5 November 1998.
Leary, Timothy. Chaos and Cyberculture. California: Ronin Publishing, 1995.
McKay, George. DIY Culture : Party & Protest in Ninties Britain. London: Verso, 1998.
Moxham, Natalie. “Because Cars Can’t Dance.” Arena Victoria, 1995.
Ralston, Saul, John. The Unconscious Civilisation. Victoria: Penguin, 1997.
Schechner, R. Future of Ritual. London: Routledge, 1993.
schNEWS Issue 168. http://www.schews.org.uk>.
Skelton, K., and G. Valentine, eds. Cool Places: Geographies of Youth Culture. London; New York: Routledge, 1998.
St John, Graham. Free NRG: Notes from the Edge of the Dancefloor. Australia: Common Ground, 2001.
The Evolution of Reclaim the Streets. http://www.rts.gn.apc.org/evol.htm>.
White, Rob. Hassle Free Policing and the Creation of Community Space. Sydney: YAPA, 1997.

Author Interviews were conducted with participants at RTS, King Street, Sydney, 31st November 1998

Sarah Nicholson is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Ecology at the University of Western Sydney. Her honours thesis “Reclaiming the Streets of Sydney” examined the intersection of dance, protest, and subculture from the perspective of performance theory. She is also a published author, editor, and poet.

Check this full lenght documentary on RTS around the world:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Here is some clips to give you an idea of what to expect..

Also check this documentary on RTS movements around the world:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

‘Reclaim The Lanes’ Street Festival In Newtown Sat Feb 13th



Anyone who remember the infamous ‘Reclaim The Street’ protest/parties around Sydney in the late 90’s will know exactly what ‘Reclaim The Lanes’ is all about, for the poor people who missed the magic, here is an idea of what to expect;


Blocked streets,  picnics on the sidewalk, children playing, push-bikes, skateboards & roller-skates, DJ’s, MC’s & live performers playing everything from Dub, Hip Hop, Funk to Psy-Trance. Best of all… colourful people interact and dancing on reclaimed public spaces in the name of …


So spread the luv & spread the word because this ones about the people!!

More info at the Facebook Event

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2759/4327831596_03ee1eb9a1_o.jpg

Reclaim The Lanes, Free Street Festival In Newtown Sat Feb 13th

Anyone who remember the infamous ‘Reclaim The Street’ protest/parties around Sydney in the late 90’s will know exactly what ‘Reclaim The Lanes’ is all about, for the other poor people who missed the magic, here is an idea of what to expect;

Blocked streets,  picnics on the sidewalk, children playing, pushbikes,skateboards & roller-skates, DJ’s, MC’s & live performers playing everything from Dub, Hip Hop, Funk to Psy Trance. & best of all colourful people interact and dancing on reclaimed public space.

Here is some clips to give you an idea of some of the magic.

Spread the luv & spread the word because this ones about the people!!

More info at the Facebook Event

More about ‘Recilaim The Streets’ movement:

Reclaim The Streets SPONTANEOUS STREET BANDE

What do we need more of in our towns? Why street music of course. All agreed then… but where is it?

This lot didn’t wait to be asked. Listen to this on the spot recording of an Italian style wind ‘Bande’ at Sydney’s first RECLAIM THE STREETS Street Party held on the first of November 1997 at Newtown, Sydney. This is a political projection of do-it-yourself.

In a historic display of people-power, thousands of local residents blockaded Enmore Rd. in Newtown to traffic with three huge bamboo tripods, erected a bizarre art-installation sound tower with a dj pumping out psychedelic dance music, built a permaculture garden in the middle of the road and had an all-day street party – dancing, playing street cricket, reading the weekend papers, and generally hanging out in a safe, tree friendly and car-free environment.

“Reclaim The Streets!”

Street music has been around since there has been anything approximating a street. There seem to be three main criteria for playing ‘music for masses, of the masses and by the masses’ on the streets.
1. Celebrate absolutely anything and get completely wrecked. e.g. all that Brazilian stuff.
2. Demonstrate alternative political and social values and get completely wrecked. e.g. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (especially earlier editions)
3. Confirm the status quo of the powerful and get completely wrecked. e.g. The Berlin Love Parade whereby 2 million young kids march around to loud techno music sponsored by McDonalds, Coca Cola and the German Government.

Just before the wind band got going with the music selected on this page, there was a wonderful display of spontaneous ‘clapping’ music at this demo in Sydney. Along with bashing stones together, this kind of activity must go back, in the mists of time, to the earliest notions of what we call music. The street bande is the acoustic expression of the generally poor and unpowerful against the rich and powerful – it’s that simple most of the time.

This is an internet extract from a country that really knows about street bande. Yes indeed, home to the biggest anarchist rallies ever seen, it’s Italy.
JR
(enjoy the crazy automatic digital translation!)

‘The Band Complex “To Toscanini ” is been born in March of 1981 to Settecamini, in the Common one of Rome, a quarter situated on the way Tiburtina. And from the before moving apparition in public, happened in the night of Been born them of 1981, of road of it has been made. From the first successes obtained to the band gatherings in Rome, from S.Pietro Public square for the closing of extraordinary Saint Year (1988).

Between the episodes more meant you that they will remain impressi in the young history of the Band and in the heart of the strumentisti, it is from remembering the encounter with the President of the Italian Republic Sandro Pertini (Quirinale 7 February 1984), the audience that S.s. Pope John Paul II has granted to the Band, in knows it Nerves in Vatican, 20 January 1990, and finally the ” received Prize Sympathy ” in knows it of the Protomoteca in Campidoglio to Rome, to the presence of F.Rutelli Mayor, in the june 1999 and May 2000.
The young age of the strumentisti, the engagements of study of the same ones, the changes worked to you and of territory of the parents, the sacrifices legacies to the tests and the musical participations, the cumulus of the cultural interests and sportswomen and many others vary objective and subjective problems, involve continuous a reciprocation of the musical body and an onerous engagement for the members of the managing committee of the society, always ready to assure the continuity of this precious musical plan, that it enriches Settecamini culturally.
The Band Complex year after year is renewed; in these twenty years are pass to you, between spin of the Band, beyond 300 strumentisti, some of which have caught up professionally goals of high artistic value. Lead musically in this distance, from Masters Scafidi, Florio, Baldassarri and Graziano, for the past, and from the Artistic Director Main Eros Vasconi, coadiuvato from Masters Romaniello Michele and Liano Antonio for the present, let alone from the juvenile passion of Tawny the Antonini President in effective collaboration with the managing committee and the many parents who follow with love this interesting activity of the sons and with the fundamental support of the Parish of S.m. of the Olive tree that, accommodating from always the band body, of it has concurred the increase and still today the survival concurs some.

http://members.xoom.it/bandasciano/link.htm

DIY Carnival: Reclaim the Streets Sydney Style

Posted on Sunday, November 14 @ 00:00:00 EST by Jodi Crome

by Sarah Nicholson

“Last Saturday afternoon, local collective Reclaim the Streets and a couple of thousand of their good friends blocked off traffic and hosted a techno dance party on five blocks of King Street south of Newtown railway station. The event kicked off with a traffic jamming walk from Victoria Park down the centre of Broadway and up the hill to Newtown where four stages were set up in the streets.” (Laanela 7)

“…heaps of people.. blocking off traffic.. music.. flags and banners..” “…couches, dj’s, bands, bikes, tricycles, scooters, dancing, fire twirling…” “It’s a party protest rally.”(Author interviews)

Semi-spontaneous, somewhat disorganised, Reclaim the Streets(RTS)’s celebratory uprising is street party as protest.

Evolving from the UK anti-roads movement, the first RTS collective formed in London in 1991. By May 1998, global RTS events, described as a “collision of love, rage, carnival and revolution, politics and party” (SchNEWS 168), were reported as occurring in thirty-seven cities across the world, in protest not just against car culture, but against the social and environmental costs of free market globalisation (SchNEWS 168). In Sydney RTS events began in November 1997, and from the first were firmly situated as part of a worldwide movement.

In RTS, the car is essentially used as a symbol to point to much broader oppressions. The main RTS website speaks of the development of car culture from historical and ideological perspectives. They posit that the proliferation of the automobile, originally conceived as a luxury good designed to give advantage to select individuals, has transformed urban landscapes and social spaces, with the power to bring cities to a halt. RTS proposes that the solution is not just comfortable mass transportation, but the creation of habitable cities sustained by the social fabric of the community: “…more urban leisure space… livable neighbourhoods…”(Author interviews).

In the essay “The Evolution of Reclaim the Streets”, the UK’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 is located as a key event which, in criminalising civil protest in the UK, was a motivational force which united the very groups, such as travellers, ravers, anti road activists and hunt saboteurs, that it sought to repress. It also worked to politicise the rave scene through locating raves in the context of public protests, with clauses of the act directed at open-air events featuring amplified music, “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”. The organisation or attendance of such unlawful events in the UK became a punishable offence.

RTS acknowledges the historical trajectory, which connects the movement with popular festivals in the form of carnival and revolutionary uprisings. (Evolution). The carnival is community organised for its own participatory pleasure; the distinctions between observer and participant are undermined, the event taking place outside existing social institutions and happening on the street in real time. The carnival is pluralistic and diverse, accessible and excessive, exaggerating and parodying, inverting norms and challenging hierarchies.

In terms of the carnivals delight in the body, RTS does not disappoint. Seventeen RTS events, centered around a thumping sound-system, have occurred in Sydney to date. Doof, an RTS characteristic, is an onomatopoeic term describing “…the bass-driven kick drum .. of techno music.” (Strong in St John 72). The experience of Doof emphasises what Brecht termed jouissance or sensual pleasure. The event reverberates with the kinaestethic pleasures of dancing with others on the street, sparking “powerful, intense vibes” (Author interview) felt in a rush of adrenalin, joy, and empowerment. In RTS, dance acts as an embodied statement of resistance and release, a strategy of “…explicitly and deliberately [employing] feelings of unfettered pleasure in the service of an oppositional critique of global capitalism.” (Luckman in St John 207). In this sense, the jouissance generated at RTS is the epitomy of Hakim Bey’s theory of uprising as peak experience. These extra-ordinary “…moments of intensity give shape and meaning to the entirety of a life. The shaman returns — you can’t stay up on the roof forever — but things have changed, shifts and integrations have occurred — a difference is made” (Bey). These shifts, as Bey posits them, allow for fluidity and change within the social sphere, a notion which challenges Bakhtin’s seminal ideas on the carnival.

Carnival, it has been argued, is used by the prevailing order as a safety valve to regulate social pressure. The inversion of the acceptable is always bounded by a return to the acceptable. Thus carnival, as temporary release, is considered to dissipate the potential for real revolution, effectively containing the energy for change. (Stallybrass & White in Gelder & Thornton, 1997) But Bey, sees “the return” differently. Characterised as an uprising of awakening rather than conflict, Bey describes events such as RTS as Temporary Autonomous Zones: “…an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen before the State can crush it.” (Bey).

h An organiser from United System, producer of free festivals in the UK, commented that, “The whole point of festivals is that they are temporary autonomous zones… they are self organising… Nobody is told where to go or what to do, everybody just does their own bit, meaning that they are much more forceful as citizens.” (Brass & Koziell 89). This style of autonomous behaviour, described as DIY culture, emerged as part of a new aggressive environmentalism. The anti-capitalist DIY movement encompasses such issues such as land and civil rights, employment and sustainable practices. Its stated aims are to empower individual action, to engage with building community through networking, sharing of information, and gathering resources outside the usual parameters of profit orientation. (Brass & Koziell 8)

Reclaim the Streets advocacy of DIY as a tactic, reflects their “… belief in a society where people take responsibility for their own actions. It is about enabling people to unite as individuals with a common aim…Reclaim the Streets does not make demands on some one else, such as the government. We want direct action to be seen as the norm, the standard way to take action” (Moxham 8-9). RTS manifests as a loose sub-cultural inter-connected network working within broadly defined ideological boundaries, the unity of which is a resistance to the dominant order. As an event, DIY operates in practice, through participant action: “…people bring their carpet and their drums and bridge that gap between the performer and the participant… people create their own entertainment as well as be entertained”(Author interview).

Through bringing people together to celebrate and affirm an issue in a creative and positive manner, Reclaim the Streets moved away from street rallies which have the expression of anger as their primary method of expressing a desire for change. The carnivalesque DIY style of Reclaim the Streets in empowering people to act creatively and autonomously through collective non hierarchical process of creation can be seen as transmitting new modes of social and cultural production and is particularly significantly in terms of its evolution of traditional forms of protest.

Works Cited Bey, Hakim. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Autonomedia., 1985.
Bollen, Johnathon. “Sexing the Dance at Sleaze Ball.” The Drama Review 40 (1996).
Brass, E., and Koziell, S Poklewski. “Gathering Force : DIY Culture.” The Big Issue Writers (1997).
Gelder, K., and S. Thornton, eds. The Subcultures Reader. London: Routledge, 1997.
Kershaw, B. The Politics of Performance. London; New York: Routledge, 1992.
Kirby, E. T. “The Shamanistic Origins of Popular Entertainments.” Ritual, Play and Performance. Seabury; New York: Schechner & Schumans, 1976.
Laanela, Mike. “Reclaimed- The Streets.”City Hub Sydney. 5 November 1998.
Leary, Timothy. Chaos and Cyberculture. California: Ronin Publishing, 1995.
McKay, George. DIY Culture : Party & Protest in Ninties Britain. London: Verso, 1998.
Moxham, Natalie. “Because Cars Can’t Dance.” Arena Victoria, 1995.
Ralston, Saul, John. The Unconscious Civilisation. Victoria: Penguin, 1997.
Schechner, R. Future of Ritual. London: Routledge, 1993.
schNEWS Issue 168. http://www.schews.org.uk>.
Skelton, K., and G. Valentine, eds. Cool Places: Geographies of Youth Culture. London; New York: Routledge, 1998.
St John, Graham. Free NRG: Notes from the Edge of the Dancefloor. Australia: Common Ground, 2001.
The Evolution of Reclaim the Streets. http://www.rts.gn.apc.org/evol.htm>.
White, Rob. Hassle Free Policing and the Creation of Community Space. Sydney: YAPA, 1997.

Author Interviews were conducted with participants at RTS, King Street, Sydney, 31st November 1998

Sarah Nicholson is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Ecology at the University of Western Sydney. Her honours thesis “Reclaiming the Streets of Sydney” examined the intersection of dance, protest, and subculture from the perspective of performance theory. She is also a published author, editor, and poet.

Check this full lenght documentary on RTS around the world:

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Podcast#3 – 'Cumbiambero Loco: An Afro-Latin & Caribbean Expedition in to ‘Cumbia’ Hosted By: Jack Posada


Soul Of Sydney Podcast #3

‘Cumbiambero Loco’:

An Afro-Latin & Caribbean Expedition in to ‘Cumbia’

Mixed By: JackPosada (Myspace, Soundcloud)

Our podcast this week is a little different to the standard ‘Funk’ we been featuring, it is an unexpected & enjoyable voyage into Caribbean & Afro-Latin beats.

This week we present a 45 min mix of traditional Colombian rebellion music called ‘Cumbia’.

Style: Afro Latin, Cumbia & Caribbean Percussion

Download Here

Click Here to Listen:

Email: soulofsydney@gmail.com

Tracks

  1. Ritmo de cumbia sonora tropical
  2. Se baila asi Rufo Garrido
  3. Ritmo y palmeras Marimba orquesta gallito
  4. Para el magdalena Los candelosos Continue reading

Podcast#3 – ‘Cumbiambero Loco: An Afro-Latin & Caribbean Expedition in to ‘Cumbia’ Hosted By: Jack Posada


Soul Of Sydney Podcast #3

‘Cumbiambero Loco’:

An Afro-Latin & Caribbean Expedition in to ‘Cumbia’

Mixed By: JackPosada (Myspace, Soundcloud)

Our podcast this week is a little different to the standard ‘Funk’ we been featuring, it is an unexpected & enjoyable voyage into Caribbean & Afro-Latin beats.

This week we present a 45 min mix of traditional Colombian rebellion music called ‘Cumbia’.

Style: Afro Latin, Cumbia & Caribbean Percussion

Download Here

Click Here to Listen:

Email: soulofsydney@gmail.com

Tracks

  1. Ritmo de cumbia sonora tropical
  2. Se baila asi Rufo Garrido
  3. Ritmo y palmeras Marimba orquesta gallito
  4. Para el magdalena Los candelosos Continue reading

That’s What’s Up#1: What is a Hip Hop Deejay? By Mista Killa


#1: What is a Hip Hop Deejay?

By: Mista Killa (mistakilla@hotmail.com)

Mon 11th Jan 2010

There is no doubt that ever since the early days of hip hop culture Hip hop has been tainted by commercialization and corporatization, washed down and regurgitated to the masses into something far from its roots. It seems that the today’s larger makeup of the Hip Hop community has failed its youth in providing them with the guidance and understanding of hip hop culture and the knowledge to distinguish those who aim to preserve and up lift the culture and those who are just in it purely for fame and notoriety. Hip Hop Dj’s being a central figure in the global Hip Hop community have a significant role in shaping peoples understanding and perceptions of Hip Hop culture. Unfortunately we have reached a point where the new generations of Hip Hop DJ’s have failed to acquire the knowledge bestowed upon them resulting in a distorted representation of Hip Hop Culture. Continue reading

That's What's Up#1: What is a Hip Hop Deejay? By Mista Killa


#1: What is a Hip Hop Deejay?

By: Mista Killa (mistakilla@hotmail.com)

Mon 11th Jan 2010

There is no doubt that ever since the early days of hip hop culture Hip hop has been tainted by commercialization and corporatization, washed down and regurgitated to the masses into something far from its roots. It seems that the today’s larger makeup of the Hip Hop community has failed its youth in providing them with the guidance and understanding of hip hop culture and the knowledge to distinguish those who aim to preserve and up lift the culture and those who are just in it purely for fame and notoriety. Hip Hop Dj’s being a central figure in the global Hip Hop community have a significant role in shaping peoples understanding and perceptions of Hip Hop culture. Unfortunately we have reached a point where the new generations of Hip Hop DJ’s have failed to acquire the knowledge bestowed upon them resulting in a distorted representation of Hip Hop Culture. Continue reading