FEMINIST FRIDAY: ‘Music Action Women’ Collective Amplifying The Artistry & Activism Of Female Musicians Globally

Maria Fernanda Gonzalez from Venezuela playing the Bandola | Image courtesy of Music Action Women Collective

Welcome to another Feminist Friday! That time of the week where we share 3 of our fave videos of the moment centered around an intersectional feminist theme. This week it’s all about music, activism and the women who bring these two together. We are featuring 3 very special videos as part of a live project called the Music Action Women Collective.

Created by a music organization called Giant Steps who launched an initiative called the Music Action Lab – a residency for artists around the world to create original music to foster social good – the Collective “is a sonic exploration of global cultures that features vocals and beats from the Balkans and Caucusus, hip-hop in four languages, contemporary pop, traditional Tanzanian folk, Afro-Latin rhythms, and jazz-inspired song forms and improvisations,” as described on the website.

The Collective created a suite of 7 original compositions and arrangements addressing issues of gender inequality, and women’s rights. Six women with a background in music making and social activism came together this spring in San Francisco, to explore what they had in common musically and personally. They came from Serbia, Singapore, Armenia, Kenya, Venezuela and USA, and discovered they were a band. The Music Action Women Collective gives voice to the experiences, specific and shared, of highly creative women who are using art and pushing for social change.

You can download the album by clicking here and learn about all 6 of the women, but in the meantime get to know 3 of the artists below and the cause they are passionate about.

Drummer, producer, and educator Barb Duncan, Muzikaldunk, is a Philadelphia born and raised musician whose eclectic style and creativity has opened doors to collaboration all over the world. A community advocate and activist, she is developing a rehearsal and audio/visual studio in West Philly for experienced and novice creators to have a safe space to work, network and build. She is also a member of the alternative rock band JJX and regularly performs with The Remixologist and The Sea Tease. Produced by Giant Steps, this video shows Barb talking about her inspirations, including the hip-hop influenced original “Breathe,” inspired by her grandmother.

Jasna Joviċeviċ is a saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, and spacedrum player and composer from Serbia. Jasna received her Bachelor’s degree from Franc Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, Hungary, and Master’s degree in composition from York University in Toronto. Jasna is the founder and leader of the all-female “New Spark Jazz Orchestra,” featuring Balkan women in jazz. She combines music knowledge with the knowledge of Yoga, Nature, Phycology, and Ecology, encouraging creativity and personal experience of music and art. The only female jazz artist in Serbia, Jasna Jovicevic shares her story and introduces her haunting composition, “Rules Change.”

Maria Fernanda Gonzalez is a Barquisimeto-based multi-instrumentalist and journalist. After years of studying cuatro, mandolin and violin, Maria decided to take up the bandola llanera, an obscure Venezuelan instrument with well-known few female performers. Through performance and education and promotion of the bandola llanera on the scale of the Venezuelan cuatro and the joropo llanero, she seeks to promote the integration of women into the field of interpreting traditional Venezuelan music as it is one in which they are sorely underrepresented. The first female to play the electronic version of the bandola, Maria —affectionately known as “Mafer Bandola”—talks about her artistic journey set to the swaying sounds of her original song, a lullaby to future daughters.

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