The United States has over 700 military bases on foreign soil in sovereign countries where we have no declaration of war. This project unites musicians, researchers, and music lovers to gather covers by American musicians of songs that originate from each of these places. By creating a new rendition of songs from occupied regions, these musicians enact a second (symbolic) occupation and encourage reflection on the implications of our nation’s exceptionally expansive reach and presence.
Throughout the world, music serves as a mobilizing force, from the musicians of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ grassroots campaign to actions by CRASS and other punks. In contrast to the frequent co-optation of music as entertainment or commodity, this project will focus on music’s power to transform awareness and create change. Songs in Wartime functions as a reciprocal window: we project a limited version of American culture into foreign territory with the presence of our bases, and these distant places reflect back into our territory when we cover and share their songs.
You can participate in the project by contributing a song at occupationpreoccupation.org. Select music based on its proximity to a base. Choose and cover contemporary or traditional songs, faithfully or loosely.