songs we play

Our music: We try to find protest-themed, energetic songs that many HONK! musicians know, and lean towards horn-friendly keys such as Bb, Eb, and F.  In addition to the charts below, our friends at JP Honk have also provided a Youtube Playlist of Playalong Videos for songs that we borrow from their usual set.

Songs we often play:

Songs we sometimes play:

You Don’t Wanna Go To War (Rebirth Brass Band, arr. What Cheer)

Bella Ciao (F/Dm)playalong video
all parts one pdf

You Move You Lose
Funkin’ It Up
Do Whatcha Wanna
Thousand Island
Grazin’ in the Grass

Who Dat Called The Police (New Birth Brass Band)


We Are Family – arrangement via Sousaphones Against Hate and Betty W.



Notes on Portsmouth Pride / LMB (Leftist Marching Band)

Elizabeth writes:

Hi folks,

For those coming up to Portsmouth here’s a couple charts and a few notes about playing with LMB. First off, don’t worry about the notes. If you don’t know some of the songs, that’s okay, come play anyway.

Before we set off on the parade, we can go over song forms and hand signals. There’s nothing too complicated, I promise.

There is parking available at the library or on Parrot Ave or on nearby residential streets. Also, if you are wondering, LMB has no particular dress code. It’s a pride parade, so however that informs your wardrobe, go for it.

If you want to keep reading, here are some more detailed notes about the set list:

Let’s Go Get ‘Em / We Shall Overcome:
We play only part 1 of “Let’s Go Get ‘Em” and play “We Shall Overcome” over that same bass line. If you are a melody player, you can either switch to the Overcome melody, or you can also just stay on Let’s Go Get ‘Em the whole time. (We don’t have charts for this)

I Wish I Knew (How it would feel to be free):
We play this loose and improv-y, so don’t worry about not knowing the tune. We do sing the first two verses, and I am attaching the words.

Born this Way:
LMB actually plays an arrangement for this, but don’t let that throw you. There are two chords to the whole song. In concert key they are Ab and Db. Phrases are four measures and the form is Ab, Db, Db, Ab. If that’s too much information, don’t worry about it. (Again, we don’t care about wrong notes)

Over the Rainbow: nothing too fancy here, attaching the melody. Any bass players, we can go over the part very easily beforehand.

Sweet Dreams: we play roughly the same arrangement as Second Line, for this. Attaching the parts, but again, don’t sweat the details. We do occasionally sing the verse and also the call and response section. On the charts the call and response is part C.

If you have any questions, let me know. LMB is very excited to have some of our southern friends coming to join us!

(ED note: they weirdly play Riverside in G 😀  )

Sweet-Dreams-lower-brass Sweet-Dreams-Eb-Alto-Bari Sweet-Dreams-Concert-teble-cleff Sweet-Dreams-Bb-Trumpet-trio

over the rainbow Eb   over the rainbow c over the rainbow Bb

I Wish I knew How it Would Feel to be Free

Songs for March 22 2018 Rally:

We Have Come Too Far (round)-all parts

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round – all parts ( Vocals / Other Vocals )

Lyric Sheet for MFOL


(Don’t be alarmed by the number of songs! You can join in on more stuff by ear than you think! Also, we often are doing “chant support”, add some simple riffs (often in Bb) to back up the voice of the crowd we’re standing for…)

We are always open to trying new songs!  There are many to choose from…


Note: these are our “standard” lyrics.  We often change them appropos of the cause we are rallying for.

This Little Light of Mine (Bb)

  1. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine (x3), Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine
  2. Don’t you blow my little light out, I’m going to let it shine (x3), Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine
  3. Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine (x3), Let it shine, let it shine, let shine

When the Saints Go Marching In (F)
1. Oh, when the saints go marching in
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Lord, how I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

2. And when the sun refuse to shine
3. And when the band begins to play

Down by the Riverside (Bb)

  1. I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield
    Down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside
    I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside, down by the riverside!  (Chorus: I  ain’t gonna study war no more, etc)
  2.  I’m gonna try on my long white robe, etc     (Chorus)
  3.  I’m gonna lay down my killer drones, etc    (Chorus)