Yangon calling! In Burma, the punk scene isn’t just an affectation for disaffected youth, it’s a rallying cry that has helped to provoke sweeping reforms that are changing the political landscape. Hey, ho. Let’s go.
Kurt Cobain believed that punk, at its most elemental, was “musical freedom.” “It’s saying, doing, and playing what you want,” he once wrote. Cobain’s band, Nirvana, meant freedom from pain, suffering and the external world – and that was pretty close to his definition of “punk.”
So is punk a celebration of freedom? Is it about rebelling against oppression? Or is it nothing more than a surefire way to move t-shirts? Trying to define a genre that’ll get up in your grill when you dare to slap a label on it is tough at the best of times. Trying to understand it in the context of Burma (Myanmar), where it flourished in the shadows of one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes, is tougher still.