I don’t normally make new year’s resolutions…I suspect it’s because the fall is my time of renewal (must be all those years of school!). Yet, a few days ago, I had a look at my new collection of vinyl and digital download purchases and realized that all the music I bought in 2017 is made by women… looks like I made a new year’s resolution after all!
This inspired me to make a more conscious effort to discover music made by women for the rest of the year – there is SO much great stuff out there! I’d like to share my top 4 discoveries so far.
Please note, this is music you listen to while doing nothing else …except maybe nurse a cup of tea. Get yourself some good-quality headphones, a quiet space and let yourself be taken away in song:
AURORA: I don’t normally listen to pop music laced with synthesized sounds, but this woman blew me away. Her voice and poetry are soft and visceral all at the same time. Her sense of melody is catchy, yet unpredictable. There is an innocence in her approach, yet so much depth. Her arrangements are so very well thought out – lots of sounds to listen for, surprises lurking in the layers, moving uses of dynamics, and some dance-like-nobody’s-watching beats.
The Staves: I heard them for the first time last summer while we were gigging at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. These ladies have a soft and delicate approach to 3-part harmonies. They make it look and sound easy, yet their arrangements are layered and are surely the result of intricately honed vocal explorations. It’s breathtaking stuff.
Aoife O’Donovan: She’s been one of my favorite female voices of folk for a while. Her first album is so good, I’ve been listening to it regularly since its release in 2013…so much so, I didn’t even realize she released a second one last year (I seems that I’ve been living under a rock for most of 2016!). Her new opus is a stunning collection of songs that feature her feather-soft voice and down-to-earth poetry that makes me want to fall in love and take a road trip. Her arrangements demonstrate a more ballsy approach to the genre with the use of atypical meters and spacy arrangements– certainly experimental in the folk world (and otherwise). I dig it.
Kaia Kater: banjo woman extraordinaire, Kaia’s voice, musicianship and songwriting breathe so much authenticity, I felt like I was being ushered into her kitchen, getting to know her over a cup of coffee while listening to her record. This is her first album (I think) and it won a Canadian Folk Music award in the Pushing Boundaries category. She’s also been nominated for an International Folk Music Award. Keep an ear out for Kaia – I expect you’ll be hearing a lot about her this year.