Being able to really play and sing what you want instead of being considered to be the decoration on the stage wasn’t always so easy for female musicians. After they got into the world that was strictly occupied by men and found their voice and position within it, a new space for reflection and continuing fight for their rights emerged. Women still have stuff to fight for in music even in 2019. Some are open and radical, some rather subtle. Who are the most distinctive protagonists of the female music revolt and what are they resounding?
The position of women in the society and the equality with men started to be reflected louder in music since the nineties. It had to do with the human and civil rights in the Western world – the women finally got the right to vote and an access to employment and education that was only reserved for men before. They could realize themselves professionally and creatively, decide about their bodies and analyze different questions of sexuality and their gender.
There were islands of the female movement ideals expressed in music to be found around global metropolises such as Berlin – for example in the music of Gudrun Gut and her bands Mania D and Malaria in the eighties. Gudrun Gut is still active and leading a music label Monika Enterprise that only releases experimental female musicians for twenty years now.
Another interesting personalities of the female musical movement is Kathleen Hanna, originally a singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and the poster girl of the movement riot grrrl. Kathleen also devoted herself to the bend Le Tigre in the zero years and now has another project called The Julie Ruin.
Amanda Palmer and Peaches are musically very different but they both provoke with their physicality and sexuality and breaking the aesthetic and societal norms and stereotypes that are usually said to belong to women.
Distinctive female authors can be also found in experimental music (Fatima Al Quadiri, Moor Mother, Grouper). Women composers entered the male dominated world already in the sixties. Their fascination by the big musical gestures lasts since the times of BBC Radiophonic Workshop till today’s modular synthesizers witches (Suzanne Ciani, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Catarina Barbieri).
Engaged feminine pop is now in global mainstream that communicates its simple but on-point messages of Beyoncé or Janelle Monáe. In Slovak music we can find the reflection of the life of the contemporary woman in the work of Katarzia and her last incarnation – Antigona.
Today we see a huge variety of themes, languages, approaches and original musicians and female authors. We still need to see more colors and women should be getting an even wider space.
Protest songs nowadays don’t have the same power that can move the thinking of the whole society as they did before. Female musicians that focus on female world and its problems do it using various means. Some of them you’ll get to know at the music lecture Futurit on the 28th of February in Café A4 with Peter Dolník.