Join us for a discussion on Ian Brennan's Silenced by Sound with Banning Eyre, followed by a musical performance by The Good Ones.

Popular culture has woven itself into the social fabric of our lives, penetrating people’s homes and haunting their psyches through images and earworm hooks. Justice, at most levels, is something the average citizen may have little influence upon, leaving us feeling helpless and complacent. But pop music is a neglected arena where concrete change can occur—by exercising active and thoughtful choices to reject the low-hanging, omnipresent corporate fruit, we begin to rebalance the world, one engaged listener at a time.

Silenced by Sound: The Music Meritocracy Myth is a powerful exploration of the challenges facing art, music, and media in the digital era. With his fifth book, producer, activist, and author Ian Brennan delves deep into his personal story to address the inequity of distribution in the arts globally. Brennan challenges music industry tycoons by skillfully demonstrating that there are millions of talented people around the world far more gifted than the superstars for whom billions of dollars are spent to promote the delusion that they have been blessed with unique genius.

We are invited to accompany the author on his travels, finding and recording music from some of the world’s most marginalized peoples. In the breathtaking range of this book, our preconceived notions of art are challenged by musicians from South Sudan to Kosovo, as Brennan lucidly details his experiences recording music by the Tanzania Albinism Collective, the Zomba Prison Project, a “witch camp” in Ghana, the Vietnamese war veterans of Hanoi Masters, the Malawi Mouse Boys, the Canary Island whistlers, genocide survivors in both Cambodia and Rwanda, and more.

Silenced by Sound is defined by muscular, terse, and poetic verse, and a nonlinear format rife with how-to tips and anecdotes. The narrative is driven and made corporeal via the author’s ongoing field-recording chronicles, his memoir-like reveries, and the striking photographs that accompany these projects.

After reading it, you’ll never hear quite the same again.


Ian Brennan is a Grammy-winning music producer who has produced three other Grammy-nominated albums. He is the author of four books and has worked with the likes of filmmaker John Waters, Merle Haggard, and Green Day, among others. His work with international artists such as the Zomba Prison Project, Tanzania Albinism Collective, and Khmer Rouge Survivors, has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and on an Emmy-winning 60 Minutes segment with Anderson Cooper reporting. Since 1993 he has taught violence prevention and conflict resolution around the world for such prestigious organizations as the Smithsonian, New York’s New School, Berklee College of Music, the University of London, the University of California–Berkeley, and the Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze (Rome).

Banning Eyre has written about international music— with an emphasis artists from Africa-- since 1988. During all that time, he's been a lead-producer for the syndicated, Peabody Award-winning public radio program Afropop Worldwide, where he is also Senior Editor. Additionally, he comments and reports on music for National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and has contributed to The Boston Phoenix, Guitar Player, Global Rhythm, fRoots, Songlines, The Beat, CD Now, CMJ,, Music Alive, New Music Monthly, Music Hound and All Music Guides, among other publications. He is the author of three books on music and co-author of a fourth.

The Good Ones are a trio of Rwandan genocide survivors who play joyous, acoustic love songs written in the ancient local, Kinyarwanda street dialect of the outskirts of their nation's capital, Kigali. Primary songwriter Adrien Kazigira interweaves intricate harmonies with co-singer, Janvier Havugimana. In a style often referred to as "workersongs from the streets," these simple, direct and plaintive love songs
speak more to the healing power of peace than a thousand academic treatises or preachy goodwill ambassadors ever could.

The Good Ones roots music is so strongly regarded that multiple respected artists have collaborated on their forthcoming third album, including members of the Grammy-nominated groups Wilco and TV on the Radio, as well as members of Sleater-Kinney, My Bloody Valentine, and Fugazi.


Event date: 

Sunday, September 29, 2019 - 6:00pm

Event address: 

52 Prince St
New York, NY 10012
Silenced by Sound: The Music Meritocracy Myth Cover Image
By Ian Brennan, Tunde Adebimpe (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781629637037
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to Ship to Your Home
Published: PM Press - September 16th, 2019