Interview with sambistas from RoR Gothenburg

  • This interview was made to 2 members of the RoR band in Gothenburg and one more person interested to join the band. All the information that you will read bellow is based on the personal experiences and opinions of the persons interviewed and does not represent the whole band.

How is the Gothenburg Rhythms of Resistance band?

The Rhythms of Resistance sambaband Anarkia started in March this year. We are about 15 persons. Some weeks ago we spread a call out among our activists friends and 12 people showed up in the first meeting we had some weeks ago. A mailing list was soon created and thats how we communicate. Some of us had played before in a grassroots samba band self defined as political, thus had some experience with the music and the potential for action, but we were seeking for something more radical and horizontal. People in our band wanted to play in music group or to be part of a political group but in many groups there are only boys (the anarchist scene here is very masculine) and music groups are often pretentious. On the first meeting we agreed our band to be a women/trans only band. I hope we will be a drug free group, some people in the band dont consume drugs for political reasons. One of our main priorities is to create a space where everyone feels safe.

What is the story behind the name, why did you choose Anarkia?

Naming things, makes them real, makes them exist. We choose to define ourselves as anarchist because its an expression of our dreams and desires, we are a feminist anarchist band. This is our website (half english half swedish):

How did you hear about RoR the first time?

An activist friend told me about it, he does a lot of networking, I dont know how he got to know about the RoR network. Then, out of interest, I checked the website and felt very inspired and motivated to start a band here. Before we traveled to Krakow, Budapest and Berlin this week, all we knew about RoR we took it from the website (the dances, the tunes, DIY guides), its very educational! Now we have met other ror members, and we can say the network is real! It was a great experience, we talked a lot and learn a few signs, its so exciting to learn a new language. We also learn in this trip that there is already a RoR band in Upsala that we never heard about before.

When and where are the rehearsals?

We agreed to rehearse every second Wednesday and Thursday, which means that every week it happens on a different day, to give everyone an opportunity to attend it at least every two weeks. We plan to rehearse in parks until we find a place. I think changing location every once in a while is a good practice. I think rotation of places its important, it makes the band accessible to the people regardless of the area of the city where they live, and it prevents the creation of certain hierarchies.

What about the instruments? Do you have something to play on?

We have a drum set for the band and we want to build our own instruments. I think this is useful to help us understand how the instrument works and that drums arent just a boom, you can obtain different sounds from them.

Do you want to tell us something about the city or the political scene?

Gothenburg is a port city, and has a working class population traditionally associated to the harbor. The city is divided in two by the river and Gothenburg is said to be one of the most segregated cities in Sweden. The socialist party has been in power for a long time in Sweden until 8 years ago when the conservatives won. Since 4 years there is a racist party in the swedish parliament. A Reclaim the Night party was attacked by a nazi group with knives on the night of 8th of March and that’s one out of several nazi attack during the last years. But resistance has also grown with this and lot of people have been out on the streets to demonstrate. In our town there is a anarchist, queerfeminist, vegan, sober book café called Vulgo and its used by activists as a book store, free shop, meeting place, study circle, peoples kitchen or for film screening.

Is there any action in the horizon?

Yes, the 30th of April there will be a Reclaim the Streets party and we are invited to play. I dont think we are quite ready, but we will have a rehearsal weekend to prepare, we plan to rehearse, have meetings and do D.I.Y.drums for 6 hours during those days! We want to rotate instruments but when we talked with RoR in Berlin we also thought that in the beginning until we feel secure it’s okay to not rotate. My concern is that perhaps is to early and the pressure and stress might have a negative impact on the group. Im not sure if we will play in the end. On the other hand, I think that we dont need to play good to play on this action, because its about reclaiming the streets, and we can do that simply by making noise. I think we should challenge what is understood by music and what is not.

What do you think are the challenges for your band?

The band gathers a relatively homogeneous group of people, between 25 and 30 years old white, most of us are or have been part of the feminist school in Gothenburg. I would like to include people from outside the scene, with different backgrounds. Another challenge is how to share power, given the fact that we have different music knowledge, how to step back, and make everyone feel comfortable. I think its a challenge to be a woman/trans only band in a network that its open to all genders. What to do if people want to join us for an action? These are things we still need to work on.

How do you think the RoR network can help you?

I would like to learn more about group processes and how to act during an action, for instance, how to act when police targets the person they see as the leader? I would like to talk with sambistas with experience on woman/trans only groups, learn from their experience and use it for our group.

You can contact the band at ror-anarkia ÄT

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