John Monbelly – Musician and Artist

I make my way up Congress Avenue  in downtown Austin, for the motorcycle parade. As I walk up the street, I see there is a musician I recognize 20 feet in front of me.   He is sitting near a wall with his instrument embraced between his knees as he holds his drum sticks.   He is focused and still as I approach him.   As I am walking forward to greet him, I remember his song that he had written a couple years back in 2016 for the motorcycle parade.  His song was about the rhythm of the motorcycles and it was playing in my mind. I can still remember that day in 2016, as the motorcycles were coming down Congress Avenue, I could hear his song echoing above the roar of the engines in perfect harmony.

I stopped to say hello and reintroduce myself from the time before.   The musician’s name is John Monbelly and he remembers me back on that day as we reflect upon his song and the parade.   I discover he has written a new song for his drum and I asked John if he would not mind to play it. He positions his drum sticks, he pauses for a second and then the beat is fast and steady.  The sound is loud and purposeful.   

I begin to envision my interpretation of his song.  I see mechanical beings focused on their tasks, no chatter, must follow and stayed in stride.  Blend in, stay focus I hear in the back of my mind.  Then the rhythm takes on new direction and it seems there is a uniqueness that tries to break free.  To stay its course and not be swayed by the collection.  It seems the rhythm is pivoting upon a conflict between repetition, replication, automation against uniqueness, wonderment and difference.  When the song ends, I ask John about his song. I ponder his interpretation and think of the incredible journey it instilled in my mind.  I thanked him for the song and after a bit more conversation I headed up Congress Avenue to prepare to capture photos for the motorcycle parade.

In my opinion, John is a very talented musician and artist.  If you would like to know more about him, I am including a link to his website,

I have also written a blog about John back in 2016:

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