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In My Neighborhood


In My Neighborhood

A search for identity in a city of musical instruments.


The narrator, a drum, wanders the streets of Coelho’s vividly realized city of musical instruments—where even the birds sprout miniature trumpets from their mouths—feeling like an outcast because he alone, among all his family and neighbors, can’t play a melody. He adores his violin brother, cello father, and piano mother but feels he has nothing to offer to their music. But one day a trio of saxophones ask him to join their band, and what they tell him gives him an epiphany: So that’s what a drum does! I now understand. I don’t carry a tune; I carry a band.


But he must still prove it to himself, and that takes all his courage. Loubriel’s story of bravery and identity, infused with Latin rhythms and joy, provides a fine vehicle for Coelho’s vibrant technique and palette. Coelho’s city of music bursts with exuberance. In backmat- ter, Loubriel, a lifelong drummer, explains how the drum kit lays a song’s foundation. The bass drum is the heartbeat; the hi-hat is the dynamic metronome; the snare drum is the drum kit’s singer.

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