Drums of Occupy | Folklife & Contemporary Folk Research

I am pleased to announce two projects commemorating the 10th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.

“The Drums of Occupy” Folklife Magazine

“The Drums of Occupy” is an essay about the drum circles of Occupy Wall Street was published today with Folklife, the online magazine of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.


“The Drums of Occupy” is a reflection on how we remember (and forget) Occupy Wall Street, its aspirations, its failures, all through the lens of the drum circle and its digital archive.

Part 2:
The Drums of Occupy: Cell Phone Recordings from the Occupy Camps, September – November 2011 (CFR, 2021)

The Drums of Occupy is an album of “field recordings” anthologizing cell phone recordings from the Occupy encampments. 


All of the music contained here was documented by people visiting various Occupy camps across North America and recording the drum circles with smartphones. The recordings are often brief, very lo-fi, and were algorithmically buried under the digital debris of YouTube’s 25+billion videos. I found these performances fascinating, demonstrating the creative, spontaneous music that was part of daily life during these remarkable protest camps.

You’re free to stream the album on Bandcamp gratis. If you donate any money when downloading, the proceeds go to Housing Justice For All, a “statewide movement of tenants and homeless New Yorkers united in our fight for housing as a human right.”

Photos by David Shankebone

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