Now in its eighth year, this gathering of community brass bands exudes the affirmative brio of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in the cinematic adaptation to Thirties Broadway musical Babes in Arms
. For three days, a grassroots collective of musicians and volunteers turns the streets and parks of Austin into a show everyone can attend. That easy accessibility and openness makes HonkTX! an ideal post-South by Southwest palate cleanser.
Some 24 bands perform starting Friday night in Mueller Lake Park. 2018’s lineup includes favorites like local black-and-yellow noisemakers Minor Mishap Marching Band, camouflage funk from Fort Sam Houston’s Biohazard Brass Band, and Somerville, Mass., standard-bearers Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society, which started the world’s first Honk festival in 2006.
Santiago, Chile’s Banda Rim Bam Bum is the farthest-flung of this year’s bands. Founded in 2009, the multidextrous group numbering into the 20s plays covers and originals spanning the gamut from jazz and cumbia to Andean rhythms like Tinku and San Juanito. Founding trombonist Alexis Cornejo says there are bands with a similar formation in Santiago, but the others typically play to dancers in religious settings.
“Playing on the street is an artistic and political action,” Cornejo says. “We take the music of this private context and make it public.”
Banda Rim Bam Bum’s skills in composition and arrangement make for a remarkably intricate sound. Cornejo notes that all members study music at some level, with many serving as teachers.
“We put our energy into the sound,” explains Cornejo. “We try to give well-played music to the people where the harmony builds in a collective way, as if each of us were a finger of a pianist.”
See the full schedule at honktx.org
Fri., April 6, 6pm