Art, Music, and Movements

June’s essay dialogue explores the use of art and music in activism.  We explore many different angles on this topic, including: What is the role of art/music in a social movement, and what impact, if any, does protest art/music have on activists?  How is the role of various types of art (music, visual art, film, etc.) changing in a digital age?  What is the role of protest music and art in broader culture? How has the diffuse status of protest art and music in culture altered the effectiveness of art in protest? How have movements of the past managed to produce lasting cultural artifacts like songs or works of art? Below is a list of this month’s essays.

Andrea Bohlman, UNC, Chapel Hill (essay)
Ugo Corte, Uppsala University (essay)
Stacy Elaine Dacheux, P.S. 1010 (essay)
William F. Danaher, College of Charleston (essay)
Ron Eyerman, Yale University (essay)
Pat Humphries and Sandy OEmma’s Revolution (essay)
Caroline Lee, Lafayette College (essay)
Ryan Moore, CUNY-Queensborough (essay)
T.V. Reed, Washington State University (essay)
William G. Roy, UCLA (essay)
Alessandra Rosa, Florida International University (essay)


Filed under Art, Music, and Movements, Essay Dialogues

4 responses to “Art, Music, and Movements

  1. Congratulations!!
    I have really liked these essays on Art, Music and Social Movements.
    In fact, I am currently working on my thesis, particularly focuses in the Spanish 15M movement and these days I have just been writing about an interesting group, the Solfonica Orchestra, who participate in the actions of the 15M movement performing several songs. I would like to share my ethnographic data with you.

    In May 2013, during the celebration activities of the 15M second anniversary, I could observe in Madrid how the Solfonica performed two songs, whose melodies were popular folk ones in the course of the Civil War among the supporters of the Spanish Republic. These two songs are based on traditional ‘coplas’, whose lyrics were adapted during the 1930s by the Andalucian poet and theatre director Federico García Lorca ( . Likewise, the Solfonica includes in his musical repertoire other songs with melodies of Verdi, Beethoven or Bach, and also a traditional Spanish Zarzuela. Many of the songs’ lyrics are revised and adapted by the Solfonica, according to the claims and demands of this movement, but also making reference to main traits of its collective identity (Melucci, 1989, 1995).

    For instance, this Orchestra also usually performs two other songs: “Canto a la libertad” (Song to freedom) and “The people’s song”. The first is a protest poem-song from the mid-seventies written by the Aragonese singer and poet Jose Antonio Labordeta. Just like other protest songs, demanding freedom and the end of Franco’s dictatorship, it was popular during the Spanish transition to democracy. In this particular case the original lyrics have not been modified by the Solfonica Orchestra. The second song is from the musical Les Misérables, based on Victor Hugo novel of the same name and set in the revolutionary Paris of the 19th century, particularly in the liberal revolutions of 1830. In this particular case, the lyrics have been adapted by the Solfonica, maintaining some lyrics of the original but including new ones. On the one hand, the original represents an emotional and theatrical call to barricades against the “slavery” [of Monarchy] in clear reference to the revolutionary values of freedom characteristic of that epoch. On the other hand, the Solfonica version maintains the emotional tone and calls to action, dignity and social change, but without making reference to any violent revolution or to slavery, as in the original lyrics from the musical Les Misérables ( .

    In its last project, Solfonica has collaborated with some 15M groups, assemblies and activists on the Opera Buffa “El crepúsculo del ladrillo” (The twilight of the brick). Although this ‘comic opera’ parodies the Spanish building bubble, it also denounces the connivance between politicians and plutocratic groups, and their responsibility in the current crisis (Laraña y Díez, 2012 Additionally, it criticizes the measures implemented by the Spanish Governments in connivance with the European Union and its ‘technicians’, who are also identified as responsible for the current situation. The acting concludes with a poem of Miguel Hernandez, “Vientos del pueblo me llevan” (Winds of the people carry me along). This Spanish poet supported the Spanish Republic during the Civil War and was arrested and jailed several times after the conflict ended. He finally died in prison from tuberculosis in 1942.

    But Solfonica also performs pop music, including The Beatles. One of its emotive actions was a flashmob in which some members performed “Here comes the sun” in an unemployment office (

    I hope you enjoyed it!!
    Best wishes.

    Rubén Díez.


  2. Pingback: Blog Mobilizing Ideas – Art, Music, and Movements | Antropología y Movimientos Sociales

  3. Reblogged this on Antropología y Movimientos Sociales and commented:
    Art, Music, and Movements A little text about the role of music and @solfonica in the Spanish #15M in the blog Mobilizing Ideas


  4. “Theory of Iceality on Environmental Arts”
    The Science behind Peace and Global Harmony is the “Theory of Iceality on Environmental Arts”. Developed in 1987, it is the practical study on the aesthetics of the relationship between Humans and their Environment through Arts and Culture, ultimately promoting an effective sustainable global Culture of Peace between all Living Things ~ Human, Plant and Wildlife Kingdoms!
    The incorporation of the rights of flora and fauna in a “Universal Peace Equation” is the first major change in achieving a sustainable global Culture Peace on Earth in over 2000 Years.


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