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Debate: Music and Protest

Which form of musical protest is most effective to provoke change? This question we asked musicians and scholars from all around the world, from the composer Dave Philipps to the ethnomusicologist Martin Daughtry. Their answers are quite different. A virtual debate from the Norient exhibition Seismographic Sounds (see and order corresponding book here [1]).

Bob Dylan with Joan Baez during the March on Washington in Washington D.C.
(Photo © by: Rowland Scherman – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 1963)

Complete Debate: The Video

Excerpt: Quotes

«The role of the artist is to raise awareness, to push boundaries, to address issues that are of a global concern. This can and will influence people in many different ways.»

Dave Phillips [2], Noise Musician (Switzerland)

«You might worry your song is not being heard, that it’s just a little grain of sand. But think what the beach is made of.»

Minuit De Lacroix [3], Composer and Singer/Songwriter (Mexico/Germany)

«I define protest broadly. Helping a girl to get out of her unhealthy relationship with a pop song or saving a man’s life with an anti-suicide song is as much a successful protest as rallying people on the streets, the way bands like System of a Down or Rage Against the Machine do.»

Trullesand [4], Singer, Songwriter, and Producer (Germany)

«Music has an immense political potential. Think of national anthems. Even people who are not very nationalist find themselves viscerally moved when they have to stand up and recite one.»

Charles Hirschkind [5], Anthropologist (USA)

Video Debate Statements by

Martin Daughtry [6], Ethnomusicologist (USA)
Rudolf Eb.er [7], Musician (Switzerland)
Filastine [8], Musician (Spain)
Antye Greie-Ripatti (AGF) [9], Vocalist, Musician, Composer, and Producer (Germany)
Charles Hirschkind [5], Anthropologist (USA)
İpek İpekçioğlu [10], DJ, Producer, and Curator (Germany)
Kimi Kärki [11], Musician and Metal Scholar (Finland)
Keith Kahn-Harris [12], Sociologist and Metal Scholar (UK)
Johannes Kreidler [13], Composer (Germany)
Minuit De Lacroix [14], Composer and Singer/Songwriter (Mexico/Germany)
Kamen Nedev aka Acoustic Mirror [15], Scholar and Sound Artist (Spain)
Dave Phillips [2], Noise Musician (Switzerland)
Annette Schmucki and Reto Friedmann aka Blablabor [16], Composer and Writer (Switzerland)
Trullesand [4], Singer, Songwriter, and Producer (Germany)

Video Cut: Stephan Hermann, Coupdoeil [17]

Some quotes from this debate were published in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds [18]. Click on the image to know more.