Rhythms of Resistance

One of the regular community groups that makes use of the Scots Church Adelaide premises is Rhythms of Resistance (ROR). In this article, ROR member Grace explains about the group and their recent activities. 

Rhythms of Resistance has enjoyed rehearsing at Scots and playing about town, and we’re looking forward to this opportunity to share with you all a bit about what we’ve been doing. 

But first, a bit about ROR. We commenced from humble beginnings- a friend of mine came back from Toronto last year talking about his great experiences of social justice street bands in Canada and dreaming aloud about Adelaide having one of its own…so he and a friend proposed that we start an Adelaide chapter of Rhythms of Resistance, and thus ROR was born! I currently wear the informal Maestro title at the moment, although traditional ROR groups try to democratise and decentralise their power as much as possible. Because of this I’ll be training up some of my peers in how to lead the band in the future.

But what is Rhythms of Resistance? We are a politically inspired samba band and collective that plays for social justice, and we are bent on using “tactical frivolity” as a means to help bring about social change. Although our Adelaide group is relatively new, ROR has been running in other cities since 2000, with chapters in 20 different countries. All the bands use the same parts and grooves, led by the same hand signals, so that performers can easily play with any of the associated groups. 

Using whatever drums and percussion we can get our hands on we in Adelaide have built a small collection of drummers and brought our loud sound to various events, with more hopefully to come. Some of these performances from our inception until now include: March in May, March in June, Climate Change Rally, Reclaim the Night (female safety on the streets), Adelaide Pride March, The International Women’s Day March, Stop the Forced Closure of Indigenous Communities, the Welcome Day Parade, Adelaide Pride March, March in March, andsome of us joined also SaSamba in the Fringe Parade this year! 

We have also participated in Scots Church Adelaide related events, such as the Suicide It’s No Secret Day. As you can see our social justice concerns range widely, including environmental matters, celebrating women, GLBT issues, welcoming immigrants and asylum seekers, and Indigenous rights…with many more that we hope to get involved with. 

Coming up on our agenda at the moment is the Students of Sustainability Conference in mid-July, where students (and other young people) from around the country gather annually to discuss climate and sustainability related topics. This year Flinders University is hosting the gathering and ROR will be performing as part of a jam session run by the legendary Riff Raff Marching Band (another street band with groups in Melbourne and Sydney). This will be a great place to network, learn from some seasoned veterans and have fun! We’ve had some band members going overseas and whatnot so we’ll be knuckling down and practicing hard. 

There is also another “Stop the Forced Closure of Indigenous Communities” rally happening soon (on June 26th), but during business hours on a Friday! One of the challenges of being part of an activist street band is trying to join in with rallies that are often quickly organized in response to new news, articles, and reports, etc. I keep the band up to date as we find out about things and do our best to get to what we can. Part of what I hope to do is put together a calendar of national events that we can plan around as well…but, if YOU can think of any event that might benefit from our presence, feel free to get in touch. 

We’re also thinking of applying for an Awesome Foundation grant (www.awesomefoundation.org) because as the band grows, so does our need for more instruments, drumsticks and earplugs! So fingers crossed on that front. So that’s us for now. Thank you again to Scots for hosting us and we hope to see some of you at a rally sometime… 

From Grace Mitchell on behalf of ROR Adelaide. 

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