What Cheer? consists of people who got together out of a shared belief that loud music shouldn’t always need to plug in. So that pretty much means brass and percussion. We can, should and will play anywhere in any weather. However, we especially like playing outside on sunny days.

Also, in 1636, Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island (where we live) left Salem, Massachusetts to seek religious independence and landed at what’s now Providence. According to legend, members of the Narragansett Tribe greeted him with “What Cheer, Netop?” (Netop was the Narragansett word for friend, and What Cheer was an old English greeting brought to New England by English settlers.)

Basically, “what’s up pal?” Except we like to think that mixture of languages means they were goofing around a little, like saying, “¿Que tal, homey?” Having a little fun with old Roger Wiliams.

Come to think of it, this whole endeavor is pretty postcolonial! Much of our music owes its history to the spread of brass throughout Europe and then the rest of the World through military conflict and colonialism (perhaps most notably by the Ottomans and then the British). And then that brassy sound got mashed up with local rhythms and traditions and we have this world brass explosion. Or something like that.

We started playing together in May 2005, and we won’t stop until they pry the instruments out of our cold dead hands.