Monday, December 21, 2009

Singing in Pink


I need women in my life. Women who sing. Women who sing about love and loss, failure and disappointment. Women who can take a microphone and use it as a scalpel to open me up and operate on me. Women who can also howl and growl about hope and joy. Women do things differently to men

I have quite a few CDs on rotation at the moment. All dealing with the above emotions and life experiences, but done by men. Brilliant music, and equally capable of intricate surgical maneuvers, but still, fundamentally different to women.

I work with Non-governmental Organizations. NGOs. In South Africa. That means every action performed by the organization must be examined according to fair employment practices. In particular, representation must be made at every level by women and black people. We associate closely with governments, and it is imperative that as an organization we are building a team which reflects the multi-faceted nature of our society. I like that. The only way we will effect change is by reviewing our task teams and asking if everyone has been given a fair opportunity. For those of you who insist that this practice is unfair, and leads to promotion of people beyond their skills level or maturity, I am not saying that. All I am saying is, it is good to avoid homogeneity in a group. And thankfully, we do not battle to find skilled women, blacks, coloureds or pretty much any ‘group’ you could choose. Often, the inclusion of diverse people with different social backgrounds adds some eye-opening flavour to a brain-storming session. Some of us may think differently, but when those differences are steered towards achieving a common goal, the results are so much better than the lukewarm broth that comes from one group all hatched from the same nest. (Yeah, so I suck at metaphors- I have dealt with that).

Anyway, as I was saying, before I naively reeled into the pathway of the runaway race truck, I need some new music. I need to have the tenderness and insight women can put into lyrics and performance. I need to dip deeper than the clever posturing of men, to the sheer chest-split-open heart surgery of listening to women. From Nina Simone to Amy Winehouse, from Celine to my own favourite, Mary Gauthier, I need them to fill the spaces on my CD rack, to balance out the men. I use music to feed into certain moods, and I keep looking for the right CD, only to realize it is a woman, and I don’t own her music. It’s like craving McDonalds, and getting served lettuce.

Some people only read books written by women, or only listen to music performed by them. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that for all of our differences, we need each other in order to have a clear idea of what life is like for someone not like me. I am crossing fingers that I get a voucher this Christmas- I’ll be browsing the CD racks, looking for the right feminine voices for my headspace. Siouxsie, KD Lang, Patti Smith, the Slits, Patsy Cline, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, heck, even Alanis and others like her.

Any suggestions?

13 comments:

  1. Excellent!

    Friday :)

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  2. @cath: You are one of my feminist heroines :)
    @friday: And you are one of my plain-speaking women friends who teaches me how to be a better man.

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  3. I don't love Mary Gauthier as a rule but "Empty Spaces" is the most haunting thing I have ever heard. Never fail to cry, so I try not to listen.

    Nancy Wilson is my pick...and I don't mean the guitar player from Heart.

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  4. @Beej: She sends shivers up my spine and through my elbows sometimes. I like the song Mercy Now http://www.myspace.com/marygauthier
    Awesome. And 'I Drink' is one of the most incredible songs, ever.... same link.
    @TBFKAMP: Nope, not feeling that Dido thing :)

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  5. Alanis Morisette, Alicia Keys... my top favourites.
    If you want something different, try some fado. It's in Portuguese, but the passion comes through in the music. For modern fado, try Mariza.
    I will look around for more kick ass chick music for you.
    :)

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  6. @anitab: Ok, Aalicia Keys could be an option. Never heard of Mariza, but I love Cesaria Evora.

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  7. Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, The Pretenders, The Cranberries...?

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  8. @MamaMeea: I was *this* close to getting a Pretenders CD the other day. I like them, the other three I enjoy depending on the mood. I do feel like Joni, though, right now...

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  9. dammit! i wrote you a whole long list of my favorite gal singers and the interwebz ate it! :( *sulks*

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  10. ok, i'm trying again. i've linked to different songs by some of my favorite artists.
    http://songza.fm/~pasr2d
    http://songza.fm/~50w50s
    http://songza.fm/~h9czu1
    http://songza.fm/~nohkpr
    http://songza.fm/~0jypdt
    http://songza.fm/~gzulk0
    and last but not least, 2 of my favorite guys
    http://songza.fm/~d865rp

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  11. @Sass Wow- that was a multimedia comment- thanks for your effort- I quite like the range- all that world music, the different rhythms. Awesome stuff!

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