Christine Welch: A tidbit

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Christine Welch

One Comment: Christine Isobella Welch (1988-12-28 – ) is a Mandarin speaking, American singer-songwriter. She studied Chinese as a student at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, (near Chicago) graduating in 2010. She then travelled to Kaohsiung Taiwan as a Fulbright English teaching assistant for one year in 2011. She was then accepted into the National Taiwan Normal University Chinese Literature Masters Program where she wrote a thesis in Chinese on representations of Taiwanese aborigine women, especially shamanesses, in 17th century travel journals, both Chinese and European. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, she continued her research on travel, gender, and Daoist tropes, especially how these combine at the mythos of the Immortal Isle of Penglai. One Million Possibilities = 一百萬個可能, was recorded in 2013, but became a sensation on the Chinese video platform Douyin in 2018.

One Quotation: “I’ve never written a song in English. I just feel like Chinese is a very poetic language.”

One Track: One Million Possibilities.

One conclusion: This is the last of a series of weblog posts about women musicians who wrote their own songs and/ or composed their own music. Previous musicians were: Joan Baez, Buffy Saint-Marie, Mari Boine, Anouk, Bebe Rexha, Pauline Oliveros, Aurora, Kate Bush, Pussy Riot, Dolores O’Riordan, Clarice Falcão and Zahara.

One confession: At the beginning there was an attempt to find one significant singer/ songwriter born in each of the twelve months, and one (or two) each in the decades of the twentieth century. In addition, there was an attempt to find people from different parts of the world. However, I soon noticed that the average age of the musicians did not match the living population. Thus, I reached out for assistance to find younger musicians. Bebe Rexha was suggested by a close relative who, at the time, was under 40! I did receive more suggestions than were used. The only exception to including people by birthdate was Pussy Riot. It was plotted in where there was a vacant space.

Other music related weblog posts. In 2021: The Charm of Soft Synths; Shaped by Music with First Aid Kit, and many other groups some of which I am trying to forget existed; Andrei Cerbu’s Garage; Music for the People; Delia Derbyshire (1937 – 2001) and Cover.

Here are some people who were considered, but not included:

Abida Parveen (1954-02-20 – ) is a Pakistani singer, composer and musician of Sufi music, as well as a painter. I discovered that she was a little too entrepreneurial for my tastes, and – apparently – actively removes YouTube videos, so there was a constant need to update links.

Jane Siberry neé Stewart, born in Toronto, Canada (1955-10-12) is perhaps the person I regret the most about not including. She is a singer-songwriter, known for Mimi on the Beach, I Muse Aloud, and Calling All Angels. She is perhaps best remembered for performing the theme song of the Canadian comedy television series Maniac Mansion, although it was written by Lou Natale (1950-01-05 – ). Her quotation would have been: “I started out in music, but switched to sciences when I realised how much more interesting it was to study than music. I would leave the classes ecstatic about tiny things.” Here, One More Colour is sung in two versions, one by herself, for people who like cows, and one by Sarah Polley (1979-01-08 – ) in Armenian-Canadian Atom Egoyan’s (Born in Cairo, Egypt 1960-07-19 – ), 1997 film adaptation of Russell Banks’ 1991 novel, The Sweet Hereafter. The book is set in upstate New York, but based on a real 1989-09-21 Alton, Texas bus accident. Much of the film was shot in Merritt and Spences Bridge in British Columbia, but the story is also a metaphor for the Armenian Genocide, where the guilty fail to accept responsibility for their actions.

Kari Bremnes (1956-12-05 – ) is a Norwegian singer and songwriter. She earned an MA in language, literature, history and theatre studies from the University of Oslo, worked as a journalist for several years before working as a musician full-time. In 1987 she received the Spellemannprisen = Norwegian Musician award, for the recording Mitt ville hjerte = My Wild Heart, and in 1991 for the recording Spor = Traces. In 2001, she and her two brothers, Lars Bremnes and Ola Bremnes, received the prize for the recording Soløye = Eye of the Sun.

Siouxsie Sioux, born Susan Janet Ballion in London, England (1957-05-27 – ) is a singer, songwriter, musician and record producer, best known as the lead singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees (1976–1996). In an interview with Paul Morley she stated, “Damaged lives, damaged souls, damaged relationships. Most of the damage I sing about first happened when I was younger and I am still feeding off it and working it out. Early experiences are what create a lifetime of damage. The songs you write can help you fix the damage.”

Björk Guðmundsdóttir, born in Reykjavik, Iceland (1965-11-21 – ), is a singer, songwriter, composer, record producer and actress, with an eclectic musical style, incorporating classical, electronic dance music, contemporary popular, jazz, experimental, trip hop (an unrecognizable fusion of hip hop and electronica), plus an assortment of other genres that could be categorized as alternative or perhaps even avant-garde.

Lizzo (1988-04-27 – ) born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, in Detroit, Michigan, before moving to Houston, Texas, before moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist. Early in her career she released two studio albums: Lizzobangers (2013) and Big Grrrl Small World (2015). Her inclusion was suggested by my daughter, Shelagh, along with the track Skin (2015).

In 2022, expect a post about assorted women electronic musicians, Donna Summer, Dale Evans, and other posts about six different synthesizers (so far), another about autotune and even one about a guitar!

Zahara: A tidbit

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Singer and Poet Zahara in Nairobi, Kenya 2013-06-02 Photo: David Mugo/Reidarmax

Bulelwa Mkutukana, stage name Zahara = blooming flower. Born in East London, South Africa (1987-11-09 – ).

One Track: Loliwe The name refers to the train that brought workers back home after many years of working in Johannesburg, where they often had other families.

One Quotation: In an interview, Zahara described this first album as a metaphor. “It’s like … just pick yourself up. No matter who’s your father or who’s your mother … I believe that you’re not a mistake.”

One Comment: Zahara is a South African singer-songwriter and poet who sings in Xhosa and English. She started to sing at the age of six. Zahara released her debut album Loliwe in 2011 which sold over 100 000 copies in South Africa. Her debut single, Loliwe, featured here, currently has had over 1.8 million views on YouTube.

Clarice Falcão: A tidbit

Clarice Falcão (1989 – )

One Comment: Clarice Falcão (1989-10-23 – ) is a Brazilian singer-songwriter, and actress from Recife.

One Film: In 2007, Clarice won a contest with this short called Laços (Ties), directed by Célio Porto, the boy in the film, and Adriana Falcão (1960 – ), her mother, and presented at the Sundance Film Festival. Her song, Australia, is an integral part of the story.

One Quotation, from Australia:

I’m stuck here in the darkness
Blinded by all the light
Standing outside my body with my body still in sight

One Explanation for this entry: Wikipedia explains that Recife has a dark history, as the first slave port in the Americas. It was founded in 1537, during the early Portuguese colonization of Brazil. Located at the confluence of the Beberibe and Capibaribe rivers before they flow into the South Atlantic Ocean, the city is a major port on the Atlantic. Its name is an allusion to the stone reefs that are present by the city’s shores. The many rivers, small islands and over 50 bridges found in Recife city centre characterise its geography and led to the city being called the Brazilian Venice. It has a relatively high ranking in terms of Brazilian human development index (HDI), ranking highest in Northeast Brazil.

However, Racife also contained the former capital, Mauritsstad, of the 17th century colony of New Holland established by the Dutch West India Company. That fact makes it interesting for me, as the city is part of my biological heritage, and the birthplace of Maria Post in 1649, one of my ancestors. Her parents were from Haarlem, in the Netherlands. After Recife, the family moved to New Amsterdam, residing on Staten Island and then Bergen, New Jersey. Maria herself moved to Schenectady, in upstate New York, where my Norwegian ancestors (the Bratts) had moved, after emigrating from Fredrikstad to Amsterdam and onwards to New Amsterdam.

Dolores O’Riordan: A tidbit

(1971-09-06 – 2018-01-15)

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Dorores O’Riordan 2016-07-09, Weert, Netherlands. Photo: Bart Notermans.

One Track: The Cranberries, Zombie (1994). Video directed by Samuel Bayer.

A Second Track: Bad Wolves, Zombie (2018). O’Riodan was in London to record this version of Zombie with the Bad Wolves, when she died.

One Quotation: “When I was about 14, I got a tacky keyboard for 250 pounds and put on a drum machine and found I could write a song.”

One Comment: On 1993-03-20, in Warrington, Cheshire, England, terrorists had planted bombs in cast iron dustbins/ garbage cans/ trash cans. They phoned the police with a coded warning that there was a bomb, but they didn’t say which town.  When one bomb exploded 25 minutes later, panicked crowds ran directly into the path of the second explosion. Three year old Johnathan Ball died at the scene, while 12-year-old Tim Parry was seriously injured, and died five days later. Fifty-four other people suffered injuries. Zombie was a direct response from O’Riordan and the Cranberries to the horror of Warrington and all the other atrocities that had taken place. It pleads: “Another mother’s breaking / Heart is taking over / When the violence causes silence / We must be mistaken.”

Pussy Riot: A tidbit

Pussy Riot Mocks Totalitarian Russia (VIDEO)

One Track: Punk Prayer (2012)

One Wikipedia Link.

Two quotations.

Anonymous participants of the Pussy Riot group who avoided prosecution for their performance published an open letter…

We are all—female separatist collective—no man can represent us either on a poster or in reality.

We belong to leftist anti-capitalist ideology—we charge no fees for viewing our artwork, all our videos are distributed freely on the web, the spectators to our performances are always spontaneous passers by, and we never sell tickets to our “shows.”

Our performances are always ‘illegal,’ staged only in unpredictable locations and public places not designed for traditional entertainment. The distribution of our clips is always through free and unrestricted media channels.

We are anonymous, because we act against any personality cult, against hierarchies implied by appearance, age and other visible social attributes. We cover our heads, because we oppose the very idea of using female face as a trademark for promoting any sort of goods or services.

The mixing of the rebel feminist punk image with the image of institutionalized defenders of prisoners’ rights, is harmful for us as collective, as well as it is harmful for the new role that Nadia and Masha have taken on.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (aka Nadia or Nadya Tolokno, 1989 – ) and Maria Alyokhina (aka Masha, 1988 – ) who participated in a 2014-02-06 Amnesty International concert, responded …

When we were jailed, Pussy Riot immediately became very popular and widely known, and it turned from just a group to essentially an international movement. Anybody can be Pussy Riot, you just need to put on a mask and stage an active protest of something in your particular country, wherever that may be, that you consider unjust. And we’re not here as the leaders of Pussy Riot or determining what Pussy Riot is and what it does or what it says. We are just two individuals that spent two years in jail for taking part in a Pussy Riot protest action.

Kate Bush: A tidbit

(1958-07-30 – )

FEATURE: Kate Bush: Before the Dawn - musicmusingsandsuch

One Track: Wuthering Heights, Version 2 (1978)

One Quotation: “We let the weirdness in.” (Song: Leave It Open, Album: The Dreaming, 1982)

One Comment: Bush’s musical style is eclectic and experimental, her literary themes and lyrics are unconventional yet have mass appeal. Her weirdness is influential.

Aurora: A tidbit

Aurora Aksnes (1996-06-15 – )

One Track: Running with the Wolves (2015).

One Quotation: “I don’t think I was born to be an entertainer, I used to really be afraid of playing live on-stage. Obviously it’s terrifying! But now I look forward to it every time. I’ve learned not focus on myself, cause it’s not about me. Now I only think about giving everyone the best experience. A magic moment.”

One Comment: Aurora was chosen as a singer-songwriter in an attempt to focus on women musicians, composers and songwriters under age fifty. On the date of publication, she has finally reached twenty-five years old. Running with Wolves was released in 2015, when she was eighteen. Wikipedia describes Aurora as having an eclectic musical style that is a composite of eight genres: art pop, Nordic-folk, synth-pop, electropop, electro-folk, indie pop, dark pop and avant-garde pop. I appreciate the fact that she in-sources costumes and makeup to her sisters.

Bebe Rexha: A Tidbit

Bebe Rexha’s album Better Mistakes will be released 2021-05-07.

One Track: Sacrifice.

One Quotation: “The whole album is based off of actual insecurity. My mental health, self-love, me sabotaging everything in my life, am I good enough for this relationship? […] It was really just taking the real-life stuff that I’m going through, which is really important for me to write about. There’s still guitar, but there’s a lot of hip-hop in it, but it’s still pop. And there are some really pop records. It’s not really dance music, but you can bop to it. But when you listen to it, it’s really a body of work. And we worked really hard sonically to make sure that everything leads into one another, and it sounds like body of work instead of just having a playlist.”

Comments:

This is not the regular, monthly tidbit about a woman composer/ songwriter/ musician, but an extra. The Bebe Rexha (1989- ) track/ video may not appeal to everyone, as musical tastes are highly individual. I have only known about Bebe since 2021-04-16 at 06:00, when I opened a link to the video track, sent to me by a young reader (under 40). He was probably too polite to say it, but I suspect that he was reacting to the fact, that the average age of the people in this series so far is over 70 years, giving an mean birth year of 1951.

The track was released as a single on 2021-03-05, with the video being released a day later. The album in the quotation refers to Better Mistakes, which will be released 2021-05-07, the date of publication for this weblog post. This is undoubtedly the first time in my life that I am ahead of the release curve. More recently, I have been up to twenty or more years behind.

Bebe is from Blete = Bletë (in Albanian) meaning bee. She was born in New York, but is of Albanian heritage.

Anouk: A tidbit

One Track: Nobody’s Wife (1997)

One Quotation: “These days adoption is a hot thing / You can get a child for nearly nothing / You take them home to a nanny / Buy off you’re guilt with toys and candy”

One Comment: Anouk Teeuwe was born 1975-04-08 in The Hague, Netherlands. Nobody’s Wife was written by Anouk, Satindra Kalpoe and Bart van Veen. The song was especially popular in the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, but was less successful elsewhere. It reached a peak position of #1 in Iceland, #2 in the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, #5 in Flanders, #6 in Denmark, #9 in Finland. With respect to the track as well as the quotation, Anouk has been married (2004) and divorced (2008) once, and given birth to six children, between 2002 and 2016.

Mari Boine: A tidbit

Mari Boine, the Nordic Council’s music prize winner, performing at the award ceremony in Oslo, 2003. Photo: Mikael Risedal/norden.org

Mari Boine (1956-11-08 – )

One Track: Goaskinviellja / Eagle Brother (Oslo Opera House, 2009)

One Quotation: Et menneske som må skjule sin opprinnelse er bare et halvt menneske. Jeg er i ferd med å bli hel. Nå mangler jeg bare vingene. Og det må et menneske ha. Vi må kunne fly. = A human being who has to hide his/ her origins is only half a human being. I’m about to be healed. Now I’m just missing the wings. And a human being must have that. We must be able to fly.

One Comment: “Mari Boine is one of Norway’s most important artists. With her background in Sami culture and tradition, she has developed new and cross-genre musical expressions. The prize winner’s great communication ability through music and language makes her an international artist of large format.” Justification of the Arts Council Norway when it awarded Mari Boine the 2009 Honorary Award.