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Not Lost But Found: Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band

Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band may sound like nothing new, capturing jazzy swing sounds of the big band era, combined with a little bit of early swing, and even ethnic rhythms mixed in. However, their sound is only half of what the band truly has to have offer. Their sounds will get your feet moving but if you get a chance to head over to youtube or ensmb.com (the bands official site) you HAVE to check out their videos. It will become obvious really quickly why they fit in at steam punk venues.

The band gets its name from Joshua Abraham Norton who was the self-proclaimed emperor of the U.S. and protector of Mexico until his death in 1880. The insane man was celebrated in San Francisco during the 19th century for his deeds. That is what the band attempts to do, celebrate the man and carry on his memory and slightly odd philosophies.

The band is made up of many various types of instruments. There is no singer, this is an instrumental band which does contain vocals but it’s mostly people yelling or sounding like pirates saying, “argh.” The band is typically followed by the Madcap Rumpus Society which is a group of street performers and sideshow freaks. The bands mission statement contains the following which sums them up well:

Spreading our gospel of spontaneous creativity and rampant self-expression, we bring a passion and playfulness to the stage that challenges audiences to not just sit and watch the world around them, but instead rise up and join the show of life, in all its wondrous variety.”

I would strongly recommend everyone check this band out even if swing/jazz isn’t your favorite.  These guys will have your foot tappin’. If I had to suggest you listen to one song (and in the case of this band it would be a tragedy, have a listen to Mesecina.

Until next time, keep rocking and don’t let the beat stop.



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