Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rocking and Rowling

There’s a weird musical subculture out there that rarely gets mainstream media attention: Wizard Rock.

While the idea of Wizard Rock goes back to the days when headshops were still evolving into comicbook stores, fans of Harry Potter have ramped things up to the Nth Degree. There’s so much of this music out there that, given enough time, it might come to rival Horror Punk (though I kinda doubt it.)

While booking bands for a recent charity fundraiser I came across some Wizard Rock (or Wizard Folk, in some cases) bands that I thought I’d share. Keep in mind that I’m not especially a fan of Harry Potter — but I still think this kind of creativity is worth discussing. The links will take you to their MySpace pages.

Note: The bands listed below are just the tip of the iceberg. The websites for each of these bands will likely lead you to dozens of other Wizard Rock artists. The age of some of these artists can be sometimes startling.

The Half Kneazles, of Chapel Hill, N.C., describe themselves as "a wizard rock band consisting of two friends, Nancy and Abby. Quarter Kneazles....and nerdy high school girls." I’m not exactly sure what a “kneazle” is, but that’s not surprising. I had to visit Google to understand some of the lyrics to the mc chris song “Neville.”

The Blibbering Humdingers are a husband and wife duo in Cary, N.C. who perform Wizard Rock, Potter Filk, Celtic, Medieval, Renaissance, and original folk music. Their original music actually pre-dates the Potter books by a few years, and were inspired to try their hands at Wizard Rock after seeing Harry and the Potters.

Hawthorn and Holly, of Charlotte, N.C., don’t have much to say about themselves at their website, but do take the time to outline the goals of WRock: To encourage young people to read, and to encourage young people to be involved with music.

The Remus Lupins have one of the more interesting mission statements: “… here are the songs from the Pensieve, the songs from Remus' mind, from every perspective, borne of these stored memories, and infused with werewolf energy. This is Wizard Rock for those who can handle it.”

The Moaning Myrtles are Lauren and Nina, a piano-based wizard rock band from Hillsborough, N.J. “The idea for the band was sparked in November 2005 when we saw Harry and the Potters play a live show and Lauren brought up how many new wizard rock bands had started.” As I mentioned earlier, these acts are only a few of the Wizard Rock acts out there. The Moaning Myrtles have played with the likes of The Whomping Willows, Draco and the Malfoys, The Parselmouths, Ministry of Magic, and others.

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