The ethnography topic I'll be exploring in this blog is the wizard rock (also known as wrock) scene. Essentially, wizard rock is music with lyrics related to the world of Harry Potter. Wizard rock bands generally exclusively produce Harry Potter themed music, and often take on the personas of specific characters. For example, the two members of the popular wizard rock band Harry and the Potters perform as Harry Potter in his 4th year of Hogwarts and Harry Potter in his 7th year of Hogwarts. Other well-known wizard rock bands are the Whomping Willows, Draco and the Malfoys (who have a faux-rivalry with Harry and the Potters) and the Remus Lupins. Wizard rock's clever but typically PG-rated lyrics mostly appeal to kids and teenagers, while wizard rock musicians can be children but are generally teenagers and adults. Interestingly, wizard rock is perhaps the only music scene that frequently holds performances in libraries.
Here are some of the research questions I hope to explore over the course of this project:
-Why would an individual musician or group want to entirely focus on Harry Potter for lyrical subject matter? In other words, what is the appeal of the wizard rock scene for musicians?
-Similarly, what draws fans to the scene? Is it solely based on Harry Potter fandom, or are there other aspects of wizard rock that make it attractive to fans?
-How does the wizard rock community operate? What does it value?
-What is the relationship between wizard rock and other genres of music? Specifically, while wizard rock can be overtly influenced by genres ranging from metal to electronic, its deemphasis on musical proficiency and its DIY aspects seem to most strongly connect it to punk.
And now, as a slightly more interesting introduction to wizard rock, here's Harry and the Potters performing their song "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock" in a library.