Carol sent me a link to the Web site for Occupella, a Bay area a capella singing group. Occupella describes themselves as follows:

Occupella organizes informal public singing at Bay Area occupation sites, marches and at BART stations. We sing to promote peace, justice, and an end to corporate domination, especially in support of the Occupy movement. Music has the power to build spirit, foster a sense of unity, convey messages and emotions, spread information, and bring joy to participants and audience alike.

There’s a link to their Facebook page, where various people have posted tons of lyrics, videos of songs, etc.

If there’s so much singing going on, why is it that at every protest march we have to endure the interminable protest chants in 2/4 time? You know those stupid protest chants: Hey ho, We won’t go, etc. — which repeat over and over and over again ad nauseum, and which make me want to chant in response:

Hey ho, let’s not chant
Those tired old political rants.
And hey ho, the drummers suck,
I mean to say, WTF?
And hey ho, let’s sing instead,
These protest chants are tired and dead.

Music tends to deflate and subvert boring ideological lyrics, so even the most didactic protest song is always better than protest chants. Therefore Occupella gets my full support (for what little my support is worth):

More joy,
Less ranting,
Sing real loud
And drown out chanting!

4 thoughts on “Occupella”

  1. That’s why Lady Gaga’s so successful — songs that capture the sensibilities of her fans (“Born this way,” for instance), but don’t have an oom pa pa rhythm. You can belt out these songs, feel empowered, and occupy a big space. A lesson worth imparting to the other occupiers.

  2. A few weeks back I was playing with some words, sung to the Ubi Caritas tune, for protesters to sing to police: “Whom do you protect? And whom do you serve? Whom do you protect? Come and join with us.”

    The inspiration was Doug Muder’s post about how non-violent protest works.

  3. Thanks for the publicity and the nice assessment of the advantage of varying chanting and drum circles with singing. Despite our name, we usually sing with guitar or ukulele accompaniment, not a capella. Our next sing will be at the Oakland Fruitvale BART station on Tuesday, December 27 at 4:30-6:00 p.m. Please come and sing with us if you’re around. No rehearsals needed.

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