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HONK if you love music: Dancing in the East Village streets at music festival

The HONK NYC musical festival rocked the East Village
Drummers from COBU rocked the HONK NYC music festival performance in the East Village on Oct. 15.
Photo by Bob Krasner

If you were in the East Village on Saturday, there was no reason to be indoors, as HONK NYC had taken over the streets.

The festival ran from Oct. 11-19, presenting performers in Brooklyn, Harlem and Staten Island as well as the EV. There was music everywhere throughout the week, from the “20-piece post-apocalyptic disco-punk” of the Funktrust Brass Band to the latin boogaloo of Spanglish Fly and the Balkan gypsy funk of Slavic Soul Party.

Event staffer Victoria Linchong noted that “HONK NYC celebrates the power and vitality of global street band music and spectacle culture. We aim to preserve, uplift and connect the many rich and diverse street music traditions coexisting in New York City.”

Continuing, she added, “This year’s festival focuses on the diversity of New York City. In addition to the bands from New Orleans and Chile, we are highlighting NYC-based artists whose work focuses on preserving, interpreting, and reimagining street music traditions from various diasporas.”

Photo by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner

Fitting perfectly into the mix was COBU, a group that combines elements of the Japanese traditional Taiko drumming with modern performance. Linchong explained that “they reinterpret a predominantly male tradition by being an all-women group and mixing things up with breakdance and hip hop.”

The audience was enthralled by the performance titled “COBU’s Passionate Heartbeat” in the middle of Avenue B, which included drummers as young as six years old. The intensity of the music was perfectly balanced with the obvious joy beaming from the troupe.

Photo by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner

Yako Miyamoto, the founder of COBU and one of the performers, mused on the effect that their work has on the audience.

“I always value the feelings that are created in people’s hearts by our performances,” she said. “We believe that this is the first step in making a person’s day and dealing with various problems and emotions. People come together, feel something, and share it.”

Learn more about the HONK NYC festival at honknyc.com; and COBU at cobu.us.

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