Legions of guitarists, string players, troubadours, and DIY-shaker makers will converge on Bryant Park May 1, 2012 for Occupy Guitarmy, as part of the Occupy Wall Street May Day initiatives for social and economic justice. And you're all invited. Just show up at the Gertrude Stein statue at 12 Noon on that date and get ready to jam all the way down to Union Square.
Occupy Guitarmy is sheduled to be a large gathering of New York-area guitarists and string players from novice beginners to master shredders, from bedroom artists to legends. All members of OG are considered equal as they support the larger umbrella organization of Occupy Wall Street, the movement that first surfaced as a 'tent city' in Zuccotti Park back on September 17, 2011. One of the main goals of the event is to attract the largest group of guitarists to ever assemble for one cause in New York City.
According to the Occupy Wall Street Music Working Group, when questioned as to who developed the idea for Occupy Guitarmy, it was noted that, "a woman named Winn came up with the creative elements for the project," and was instrumental in coordinating the squadrons, armbands and flag system that will be utilized by the group during the march.
Woody GuthrieTo get the guitarists primed for the event, OG has posted several protest songs to their website that they're requesting be learned in advance: “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie, “El Pueblo Unido,” Sergio Ortega / Quilapayún, “One Guitar” Willie Nile, “World Wide Rebel Songs,” The Nightwatchman, and the spiritual “We Shall Not Be Moved.” These songs' chords, lyrics, MP3s and videos are available on the occupyguitarmy.tumblr.com site.
"99 Percenter Song" by bwaySteve Baker
As far as new music, an artist like bwaySteve Baker who composed the "99 Percenter" song would also be able to share his music with the group, and add it to the day's repertoire. All new artists who want to share their work are required to bring print-outs of their chords/lyric sheets and are requested to present to the organizers at the main gathering area, before 12 Noon. Then, they will be allowed to teach their songs to others as they assemble. . . as "peer-based learning," is one of the core tenets of all OWS initiatives.
The Occupy Guitarmy event will commence with teachers helping other musicians master chords, song leaders teaching songs, and those who mastered it all -- invariably jamming. The OG squadron leaders, including the renowned Tom Morello & Ben HarperTom Morello and Ben Harper, will divide the musicians into groups and help them stay organized as they sing, play, and march their way down to Union Square Park. The concert will also include performances by Immortal Technique, Das Racist, Dan Deacon, and Bobby Sanabria.
At Union Square, there will be an amplified stage, approved with all city permits required by Mayor Bloomberg and supported by a coalition of organized labor and immigrant rights groups.
The Occupy Guitarmy is part of May Day, a call for the 99% to take to the streets and reclaim their communities. Their press release is emphatic that this initiative is another effort by OWS to: "demand economic justice from the major institutions of government and industry who refuse to step forward and deliver a just society. No Work, No School, No Shopping, No Housework, No Compliance. May Day will be another important step forward in the growth of a resistance movement that has captured international headlines since the occupation of Zuccotti Park at Liberty Square on September 17th, 2011 and contributed to a renewed national and global focus on social and economic injustice."
Guitarist off to join the Occupy Guitarmy!
For other posts related to OWS and music, see: