The Zora Parade Project

Inspired by famed writer-turned-field recorder Zora Neale Hurston, The Zora Parade Project celebrates culture through a lens of sound in the rhythm and pageantry of the 2nd line style parade. Melodius Thunk produces live parades and workshop events based on the histories, traditions and art of the big parade.


In the fall of 2016, we partnered with Writers Room a community outreach program of Drexel University’s Dornsife Center for Community Partnerships. The NEA Big Read event centered around Zora Neale Hurston’s life and work, featuring talks by Zora Neale Huston scholar Dr. Cheryl Wall, flash-fiction writing, dance programs and field-recording workshops. To kick off this multi-week program, we produced a 2nd line parade featuring the West Powelton Drummers, a West Philly community drumline with 25+ years serving the community. The 2nd line went from a theater at Drexel, through the streets and ended at a community center where they performed alongside a college jazz band.  The short video we created captures the essence of the event that strived to close the ‘town-and-gown’ gap between the university and it’s neighboring community.


The Breath of the Drum is sonic adventure docuseries celebrating the Great Parades of our time. The series explores the roots of these great cultures with a specific interest in how the Diaspora has used celebratory music and processions to feed their spirits.


The Down by The Riverside parade on November 26, 2005 was the first big 2nd line after the horrors of Hurricane Katrina. This soundscape features the Hot 8 Brass Band in the foreground and from time to time, at rests, at breaks, the To Be Continued Brass Band in the background. The track start with Black Men of Labor’s Fred Johnson giving homage to the fallen Mardi Gras Indians Big Chief of Chiefs, Allison Tootie Montana and a singing crowd trying to let go and be free all along the way.

Hot8 Brass Band


Melodius Thunk searched the 7 sonic barrios of Santiago de Cuba in our quest for the different mythical rhythms of the conga parades.

Please contact us below for all Zora Project inquiries: