If you were in the East Village on Saturday, there was no reason to be inside, because HONK NYC had taken over the streets.
The festival ran from October 11-19, featuring artists in Brooklyn, Harlem and Staten Island as well as EV. There was music everywhere throughout the week, from Funktrust Brass Band’s “20-piece post-apocalyptic disco-punk” to Spanglish Fly’s Latin boogaloo and Slavic Soul Party’s Balkan gypsy funk.
Event staff member Victoria Linchong noted that “HONK NYC celebrates the power and vitality of street band music and performance culture. Our goal is to preserve, elevate, and connect the many rich and diverse street music traditions that co-exist in New York City.
Continuing, she added, “This year’s festival focuses on the diversity of New York City. In addition to bands from New Orleans and Chile, we spotlight New York-based artists whose work focuses on preserving, interpreting, and reinventing street music traditions from diverse diasporas.
COBU, a band that fits right into the mix, combines elements of traditional Japanese Taiko drumming with modern performance. Linchong explained that “they are reinterpreting a male-dominated tradition by being an all-female group and mixing things with breakdancing and hip hop.”
The audience was captivated 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 emanating from the troupe.
Yako Miyamoto, the founder of COBU and one of the performers, reflected on the effect their work has on the audience.
“I always appreciate the feelings that are created in people’s hearts by our performances,” she said. “We believe this is the first step in brightening a person’s day and dealing with various issues and emotions. People come together, feel something and share it.
Learn more about the HONK NYC festival at honknyc.com; and COBU on cobu.us.