International Women’s Day has been going strong since 1909 and, this year, the slogan is ‘Be Bold for Change’. Calling all the sexes to forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.
Today, we don’t want to lecture the men on the inequality women must face. Equally, we don’t want to lecture the women on how they should be fighters in the war on sexism.
What we want to do, is celebrate the women in music. The women who have inspired us to take up our instruments; those who have moved us with their passion; and those who have fought against gender inequality to rise to starry heights in their careers.
And, after long hours of debate, we selected a few of our favourites to share.
Sophie’s choice: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
“Lorraine Hunt Lieberson was a professional violist, before becoming a magnificent mezzo-soprano. She chose her work with care, she performed with heart. She married Peter Lieberson, with whom she had a glorious creative partnership. To read the notes to Neruda Songs is to glimpse at their friendship and love. She died so young, aged 52, from complications due to breast cancer. I wish I had just once sat in Row E or Row Z, and heard her live; but I only discovered her in 2015, 9 years after her death.
“Hearing Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sing is transporting, her sound a particular type of enchantment. Her voice in a word? Luminous.”
Emma’s choice: Debbie Harry
“It has to be Debbie Harry. She reminds me of getting picked up from school with my mum blaring Maria out of the window – you could hear her coming. Debbie Harry is so iconic but completely true to herself and I have loved her from a young age. She is a complete trailblazer, fearless and just awesome!”
Raissa’s choice: Kathleen Hanna
“Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill /Le Tigre/The Julie Ruin. She is the pioneer of the riot grrrl movement. She was the first one to talk expressively and naturally about women’s matters, leading a band that showed the world that girls were not just going to wait around for things to happen.
“This was all happening in the 90s, When America was filled with super models and the dream of reaching size 0. It must have been so shocking to finally hear someone telling you your curves are natural; your brain is the power of your being; and you can do anything you want to if you believe in yourself. Even if you are a woman!”
Parastou’s choice: Nina Simone
“Within seconds of listening to Feeling Good, I fell in love with Nina Simone’s voice. Then, after days of listening to her albums on repeat, I fell in love with her music.
“But what I love most about the High Priestess of Soul is her determination; this woman went against her family and her church to sing the music she loved. Living in a time of civil injustice against women and race, she fought her way to the top and stayed there. She is an icon of her genre, a notable influence for countless contemporary artists, and a great example that fighting for what you believe in is not just possible, it’s mandatory.”