Hidden World of Girls: Stories for Orchestra


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“We met through our boyfriends, Peter Barnowsky and Robert Mapplethorpe…. In the Summer of ’68, we became friends. At first Patti and I spent our afternoons drawing. When I started to photograph her, it seemed as easy as sharing colored pencils. It was simple. Patti liked being photographed…. Patti and I were friends the way children are friends. With Chirpy little voices, we daydreamed a future. I found a cassette Patti and I made in ’69. We were making a long-since lost 8mm movie in my tenement apartment in Brooklyn.”

-Judy Linn from her book of photographs, Patti Smith 1969-1976

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"> Prends Donc Courage,” Savoy replied.  Twenty-six and  “a bit lost” at the time, Savoy heard this “haunting voice” over an LP and was immediately entranced.

But the melody Savoy heard that day was more ancient –at least 200 years more so.

“A lot of early Cajun music came from when the radio came to Louisiana,” Savoy explained. “They’d hear a song on the radio and say I like that and they’d play it on a guitar and accordion… leaving out half the words, changing the arrangements and singing their own interpretation of the music, in French!”

Essentially, Cajun music evolved as a musical conversation. Songs were a form of retelling or oral history. But with Prends Courage, Falcon was standing on the shoulders of many more giants then she realized.

After some internet sleuthing and a bit of help from record producer Joe Boyd, who was passing through town, I pulled together a surprising musical lineage to Savoy’s inspiration: this early Cajun recording had its roots in a Croatian folksong, that came to Cleoma Falcon by way of 19th century American ditty and the last Queen of Hawaii—Lili’uokalani.

“Aloha ‘Oe” –the iteration that Falcon heard was Lili`uokalani’s. Legendarily, the queen had composed this lover’s farewell during a horseback ride on the windward side of Oahu in 1878. Her inspiration came from watching a mixed couple taking leave of one another. Later she sang the song in her own farewell to her kingdom when Hawaii was incorporated into the United States, the 50th state, in 1959.

Lili`nokalani’s friend Charlie B. Wilson later pointed out that the tune of the verse resembled  “ Rock beside the Sea,” a ditty that American church music composer Charles Coozet Converse came up with in 1857. A Wikipedia entry indicates that Converse himself borrowed the melody from a Croatian folk song “Sedi Mera Na Kanen.”

Check the melodies out for yourself to hear the similarities.

Cleoma Breaux and Joe Falcon’s rendition of “Prends Donc Courage

1911 recording of Aloha ‘Oe by Madam Alapai

Tamburica 5 plays ” Sedi Mara na kamen studencu


Through its centuries’ long morph; the song has remained one of farewell –either to a lover or a country. Converse waxed nostalgic about the “winds of morn” and signs of spring on his “lone rock by the sea.” Lili`nokalani talked of “sweet memories” and how “true love” never departing, all amid the “`ahihi lehua” flowers.

Falcon’s version was the farewell that strayed the furthest from the original Croatian version. Hers has no sappiness. She doesn’t dwell on the leave taking but instead calls for courage, not just on her own part but that of her lover’s too. She sings, “Take courage for it is the end of the year and I am going to go away with you. A lot of hearts are going to be broken but we must be strong and brave and go.”

And it was that determined sentiment that the then 26-year-old Ann Savoy heard that convinced her to see Les Cajunes at the National Folk Festival in Washington DC. There she met her husband Marc who is one of the last traditional Cajun accordion makers. The two moved to Eunice, Louisiana and had four children—all but one of who—is in a Cajun band. The family is widely considered to have begun a revival in interest in Cajun music — all born from a Croatian farewell song.

Also, check back for an audio slideshow on Ann Savoy’s life and love of music, to be uploaded soon.


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">Falcon family

But please listen also to this! Mina wouldn’t fall at everyone’s feet:

In the song, he says, “Darling, what happens tonight, I look at you and to me, it is like the first the time…You are my love’s sentence that started but never ended…You are like the wind who brings roses and violins…My yesterday, my tomorrow, my always.” She replies, “Words, words, only words…roses and violins, tonight give it to someone else!” (brava!)

A fire-red hair girl, Ornella Vanoni broke the wall of success by that time, and tears followed by gloomy smiles would come along very easily listening to her soft voice.
She says, “What’s happened, what’s happened? It happened that I fell in love with you…”

But I think her best song is “Rossetto e Cioccolato” (Lipstick and Chocolate):
“It takes passion, a lot of patience, raspberry syrup and a drizzle of unconsciousness…Cook over low heat, mixing with feeling black stocking and white milk…It’s almost done. Throat satisfied, that’s how you do and you chew it slowly…for the heart and the palate.”

Could you find a better recipe for this hungry city I’m now in, San Francisco? Maybe, for once, instead of choosing cucumbers from San Francisco’s Ferry Building…

But these ladies haven’t been dreaming and waiting all day long. They got angry, very angry. Ask Loredana Berte and she’ll tell you that she is “someone for whom the war is never ended!” and would have ordered her man to tell her every night “Sei Bellissima!” (You are beautiful). Here you have her strong and hoarse scream:

Times change and a new wave streamed in. Overseas people were already starting to shake their hips and Italy wanted exactly the same! So while in the US, Elvis Presley was already called a king, we had our lovely Caterina Caselli starting to bewitch the crowd.

Ok, ok so her song is a cover from The Monkees, but what a performance! And Italians still needed a little push and to find their own Janis Joplin.

But of course someone with a clearer idea was already thinking about a very particular dance. Someone like the “forever-blond” Raffaella Carra’:
“It’s called Tuca Tuca
I invented it (the dance)
to tell you
I like I like I like you

Here are five beautiful pearls of Italian music that hopefully will leave you with a little smile.



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We were first introduced to the soulful sounds of Kelley McRae while in Durham, North Carolina as she played at the Pinhook with Humble Tripe and Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes. Kelley and her husband Matt left their home in Brooklyn and are continuing to travel around the United States in their VW van playing at venues and in people’s homes. We’ve been keeping in touch and now that Kelley and Matt will be coming to the Bay Area, California the last week of September through the first week of October 2011, we’ve asked her a few questions about her Great VW Camper Van Tour of 2011, 10 girls on her turntable, and some insights into stories from the road and her own life for The Hidden World of Girls Series. (Left: Kelley and Matt performing at the Pinhook in March 2011)

What started your interest in music and in songwriting?
There are a lot of small moments that I remember from growing up that I think fostered my love of music and had a huge hand in the kind of songwriter I would become.  I have a distinct memory of the first time I heard the song ‘Summertime.’  I was five years old, it was programmed into a small electronic piano we had, and I remember having a feeling like I had discovered something magical. I also loved the three part harmonies I heard in the old Southern hymns at my grandparent’s Baptist church in Vicksburg, MS. And on car trips my dad had this Don Williams tape we would listen to all the time.  There I was, probably 8 years old, and I would sit in the middle seat of the car between my two brothers just singing my heart out with Don about ‘The Only Game in Town.’  So music was always around growing up, and I always loved to sing, but had never considered songwriting until I took a guitar class my junior year of college.  I was studying acting, so I took this class for fun, but as soon as I learned three chords all I wanted to do was write songs.  I always compare it to falling in love.

So we hear you’re coming to the West Coast at the end of the summer! What dates will you arrive and where are you headed afterwards?
We arrive on the West Coast the last weekend of August and will be making our way down the coast, from Vancouver to San Diego (and many stops in between!), through September and October.  I’m currently booking venues and house shows and things are starting to take shape!  You can see all our show dates here:  www.kelleymcrae.com/shows and you can request a house show by emailing me at kelley[@]kelleymcrae.com.

You grew up in Mississippi, transitioned to Brooklyn, and now you’ve been hitting the road in a VW. What inspired your house tour around the United States?
Last July, my husband Matt (who happens to be an incredible guitarist) and I went up to the Catskill Mountains to escape the heat of our unair-conditioned little apartment in Brooklyn, but also to do some thinking.  I had been in New York City for 7 really wonderful years – I met and was mentored by some incredible musicians, signed with a small label and recorded two albums, and toured the eastern half of the US and in Ireland, England, Germany and Sweden.  But more than any of these things, as is true for a lot of artists, my time in New York City was spent trying to pay the rent.  I spent as much time as I could playing music, but 40 hours a week were spent at day jobs, and I was really exhausted.   Matt and I were talking about all of this on our trip to the Catskills and we found this unbelievably gorgeous valley where we were hanging out talking and playing our guitars.  It was there in this little valley that I first had the initial idea for the tour.  I said something to Matt, basically to the effect of ‘What if we quit our jobs, lived in a van and just toured the country playing music?’  Matt was game, and so the idea built over the next few months until it became a reality: ‘The Great VW Camper Van Tour.’  We sold everything, left our apartment and have been living in our VW Camper Van for 5 months now.  We’ve played 75 shows and driven 17,000 miles and we’re still going!  It has been amazing.

Could you describe to us how house shows normally work?
House shows really are the heart of this tour. We will probably end up doing around 150 shows this year, and 100 of those shows will be in the living rooms, backyards, front porches, back porches, decks, carports and sun rooms of people all over the US.  And because this is a new thing for most people, we try to make it an awesome experience and we like to keep it really simple.  The host of the show invites around 20 – 30 friends over for a night of music.  You don’t need a sound system and you don’t have to deal with money, we simply put out a $10 suggested donation bucket out with our CD’s and Tshirts. We usually do one longer set or two short ones.  It’s a really relaxed, intimate environment and perfect for the kind of music we play.  I love house shows because you really get to know people, you never know what you’re walking into and they have the potential to be magical!

How many people travel with you on the VW tour?
Just me and Matt!

What are three aspects you enjoy most while traveling on your VW tour?
1.  The thrill of living out my dream of playing music full time.  I’m probably working harder than I ever have in my life, but I feel really free.  2.  Getting to travel and see this friggin’ gorgeous country!  3.  Meeting so many extraordinary people and hearing their stories.  I have been blown away by the kindness and generosity we have consistently encountered on the road.

What are some difficulties as well (if any)?
Well, we spend a lot of nights sleeping in Walmart parking lots.  Which is about as glamorous as it sounds.  It’s hard to not have your own bathroom, shower, etc.  It’s hard not to have your own space in general.  But, it makes it possible, and so it’s totally worth that sacrifice.

Throughout The Hidden World of Girls Radio and Multimedia Series, we’ve been learning about the sometimes untold stories of women from around the world. Are there some stories that you’ve encountered while on the road through the people you’ve met?
I’m hesitant to give you all the details, because it’s not my story to tell, but the host of our show in Minneapolis was an American Indian and the story he told us of his grandmother’s life took my breath away.  When I told him that this story was remarkable, he said that, sadly, there were so many stories just like it in the American Indian community.  I think that the stories of these women – women who were taken from their families at a young age, women who were married off to white men twice their age and I’m sure many, many other things that we now consider shocking – need to be told.

Do any personal stories come to mind that you’d like to share of being a girl and growing up, stories of coming of age, crossing the line, or changing the tide?
I have a song from my first album called ‘What Ya Get Is What Ya See.’  It’s a song about being 14 years old in Starkville, MS and feeling like my worth was totally wrapped up in what I looked like: “I’m not pretty like the girls on TV / My face won’t open any doors for me /  So I’ve stopped dreaming ‘bout my destiny / Cause what ya get is what ya see.”  As a girl growing up in in the deep South, and then as an actress in college, I believed that the prettier and skinnier I was, the more worth I had.  It took me a really, really long time to get beyond that 14 year old perspective.  It was actually songwriting and a 70 year old sailor in Baltimore that first started changing the tide.

I moved to Baltimore the year after I graduated college and ended up getting my first gig at the Barista Café, a little coffee shop on the harbor, every Thursday night.  I eventually gained a small following, a rag-tag group of down to earth, lovely and bizarre people.  The coffee shop was right next to a dock where a lot of people lived on their boats.  One of those people was a wild looking sailor with a long white beard and long white hair named Richard. Richard had a foul mouth, a wicked sense of humor and a soft spot for people he considered to be ‘real people.’ He came to my first show at the café and never missed one for the next year.  He painted a backdrop and set up lights for me at the shows, he pushed me to go further with my songs and singing, he got all glassy eyed at the right moments of sad songs and he eventually set up a weekly recording session for me in Pennsylvania.

As I played these first shows to Richard and my rag-tag group of friends, I began to feel truly comfortable in my own skin for the first time.  Part of it was that as a songwriter, I found that the more I was truly myself, both in my songs and on stage, the more people responded.  I didn’t have to be a skinnier, prettier version of me – I could just be me.  I can’t tell you how good that felt.  It was an immense relief.  It was under the loving and nurturing eye of Richard and this group of Baltimore friends that I began to believe that I was beautiful, because they believed I was beautiful.  It is one of the most profound gifts I’ve ever been given.

Girls On Kelley’s Turntable

Patty Griffin – ‘Long Ride Home’
Patty has a way of capturing loneliness and regret that is stunningly beautiful.  She will break your heart every freakin’ time.
Lucinda Williams – ‘Car Wheels on a Gravel Road’
This is the title track of one of my favorite albums of all time.  I love the Southern imagery in this song, especially having grown up in Mississippi.
Aretha Franklin - ‘The House That Jack Built’
I am a huge Aretha fan and this song has been stuck in my head for weeks.  Her voice and energy are ridiculous.
Gillian Welch - ‘Orphan Girl’
This is a song that people will be singing 100 years from now.
Jenna Nicholls – ‘Holy Moses’
I heard Jenna perform in NYC and nearly fell out of my chair.  She is a truly incredible songwriter and has one of those effortlessly cool, powerful, feminine, unique voices.e.
Kasey Chambers – ‘Barricades and Brick Walls’
Kasey has an incredible story and is the real deal.  She writes some serious old school ass-kicking country songs..
Nina Simone – Her cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’
A haunting cover of an amazing song.

Mary Gauthier - ‘Mercy Now’
Mary is one of those songwriters that everyone who really cares about music should know.  Bob Dylan is a fan if you need a second opinion!  I got to know her at a songwriting workshop in Costa Rica where she totally kicked my ass in the best possible way.  I’m a better songwriter because of her.
Laura Marling - ‘Rambling Man’
This song totally stopped me in my tracks.  It has a fierceness that you don’t hear enough in female songwriting and it is totally inspiring to me. And the video is perfect.
Susan Enan – ‘Bring On the Wonder’
I was a huge fan of Susan before we became neighbors and good friends in Brooklyn.  This song was featured on the show ‘Bones’ and gave her some much deserved love and attention from around the world.

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"> annual music issue of The Believer recently hit store shelves. It includes an interview Davia did with Martha Wainwright:

THE BELIEVER: What got you started writing?

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT: I had started watching Rufus write songs, and he was playing a weekly show at this small venue and had asked me to sing some backup, so I had been onstage with him. I enjoyed that so much that I then pushed myself to write my own songs, to see if I could, being surrounded by songwriters and knowing a few chords on the guitar. At first I didn’t plan on being a musician, but then through those first couple of songs I realized it was the easiest thing for me to do. And it’s good to do the thing that’s easiest and most natural, rather than fight it.

You can read the entire interview by purchasing a copy at the McSweeney’s Store.

And here is Martha performing a song written by her mother, Kate McGarrigle:

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L to R: Darlene Love, Wanda Jackson, and Cyndi Lauper at the opening of the exhibit

The new exhibit, which takes up two floors, pays tribute to the women who have played a vital role in the evolution of rock and roll but who often get left out of the collective memory. The exhibit offers a chronological look at the lyrics, hairstyles, instruments, and fashion of some of the world’s most important female musicians.

Lauren Onkey, who is vice president of education and public programs at the museum, told us that she hopes the exhibit will not only tell the history of women in rock, but also get young people, especially young girls, excited about these pioneers. As the first exhibit of it’s kind, Women Who Rock has the unique opportunity to inspire young girls with images of strong, independent, and hard-rocking women.

Meredith Rutledge, assistant curator at the museum, says she had been pushing for a women’s exhibit for years, but others rejected her proposal, concluding that an exhibit about female musicians would not have “wide appeal.” Meredith admits, “Rock and roll, like the general society that it comes from, is a male dominated animal. Men have been running the show, and women for so long were considered adjunct, window dressing, something extra on the side.”  It’s taken decades to get recognition for women musicians, and Meredith says, “this exhibit is a really good first step – and I want to make sure that we continue this. I don’t want my male colleagues to, you know, wipe their hands and say we’re done with the girls now, we can go back to the status quo. Now that we’ve got our foot in the door we want to keep it open.”

The exhibit starts out with the early soul and blues singers, including Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Mahalia Jackson. From Meredith, we learned that Ma Rainey was one of the pioneers of “bling” — she used to wear multiple $20 gold pieces around her neck on a chain. Meredith says that this was revolutionary; “For an African American woman to flaunt her means in the 1920s was just so unheard of and really courageous.”

One of my personal favorites was Loretta Lynn’s dress that she wore on the cover of Coal Miner’s Daughter. I think it is part Southern Belle, part Glenda the Good Witch, and completely classic Loretta. We legally can’t show the dress on display, but to jog your memory, the album cover is at left.



Both Nikki and I loved the sweatshirt  belonging to Genya Ravan – lead singer of Goldie &
the Gingerbreads
. Genya herself offered up artifacts she had saved from the band’s era. Most people haven’t heard of Goldie & the Gingerbreads, which is a shame because they were in fact the first girl band who played their own instruments to be signed to a major label….by Ahmet Ertegun no less. The Gingerbreads broke ground for female musicians, and by featuring them in the exhibit, the Rock Hall is helping to reclaim the band’s lost history.







Also on display is Mavis Staples’ red Bill Whitten dress from the mid-70s. Mavis Staples is one of the most prolific and respected gospel/soul/R&B singers of the 20th century, and she has continued to release incredible albums into the 21st as well. We had the thrill of seeing Mavis perform at the museum’s benefit concert (see image above) while we were in Cleveland, and she knocked our socks right off.

Another standout is Lesley Gore’s forty-pound dress that she wore at the Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel in 1969. Apparently the dress was so heavy that Lesley could only bear to wear it for one song. It’s a beautiful dress and every inch is covered in beads, sequins and rhinestones.

Grace Slick’s white-fringed vest from her Woodstock performance is also on display.

Meredith relayed to us the story of how Grace chose the vest in anticipation of a hot August weekend in New York. As is well documented, the weather turned out to be wetter than expected, so in order to preserve her outfit Grace avoided the rain and mud by secluding herself indoors.

Of course I have to mention Joan Jett’s leather jacket from the “I Love Rock and Roll” music video. It’s covered in buttons, the largest of which reads: Keep Abortion Legal.

In the exhibit you’ll also see Joan’s bandmate from the Runaways, Cherrie Currie’s gold lame jumpsuit  from the late 1970s. Well, at least it used to be gold. You can also see the one of her silver boots that she wore on tour. Apparently, the other boot was lost to an enthusiastic fan.

In the middle is Donna Summer’s outfit from the cover of her “Work That Magic” album, and on the left is Cher’s memorable Native American-inspired costume from “Half Breed.”

Patti Smith has several artifacts on display, including an old school Atlanta Braves jacket with a tomahawk on it – probably from the 1950s. The mannequin is also wearing  a tattered t-shirt that has car racing flags on it, leather pants, and boots that are literally tape together with duct tape. Also on display is Smith’s clarinet, which she used to play at her early poetry readings with Lenny Kaye.

These are just a few highlights, and we’ll continue to blog about the exhibit in the coming weeks and months. If you’re in the Cleveland area, head over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to check out the exhibit yourself, or for a special sneak peek, check out this video, which highlights some of the exhibit’s artifacts.

All photos credit: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum


This blogpost was written by intern Rachel Ariel Scott, whose personal blog can be found at: http://www.thirdhandnews.wordpress.com

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"> Mirissa Neff,  also known as  DJ Felina, and asked her to curate her favorite tracks featuring girls for us (scroll through the Youtube Playlist below).

By night Mirissa Neff  is known for her eclectic mix of Brazilian batucadas, gypsy electronica, and other beats she picks up on her travels around the globe.  By day she is a photographer, art director for San Francisco’s largest alternative newsweekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and recently she also travels the globe as a reporter for PBS’s Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders, a new series that explores the world through music.

Here are a sample of sounds we’ve selected from her list.

(scroll left or right through the YouTube player or continue down below to hear the individual tracks)

1.  Under Your Hat: DJ Vadim featuring Kathrin DeBoer

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    DJ Vadim Under Your Hat Feat Kathrin Deboer & Governor Tiggy by mediaplayerone 26,426 views

“DJ Vadim collaborates with lots of different women but his tracks with Kathrin DeBoer are always sublime. Her voice complements his dub-stylee sound perfectly.”

2. My Jamaican Guy: Grace Jones

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    Grace Jones – My Jamaican Guy by DiscoLoverMiami 524,293 views

An oldie but goodie with one of the best hooks ever created. Somehow this track never sounds dated.

3. Feelin’ Good (Joe Claussel Remix): Nina Simone

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    Nina Simone, “Feelin’ Good” (Remix) by cosmos34 174,563 views

A beautiful downtempo remix featuring the incomparable vocals of Ms. Simone.

4. Private Eyes: The Bird and the Bee

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    Private Eyes – The Bird and The Bee by UndacovaSooperSpy 102,021 views

This is from an album of Hall and Oates covers reinterpreted by Inara George (the bird) and Greg Kurstin (the bee). George’s vocals put a fresh feminine spin on these beloved 80s pop tunes.

5. Love Like That: BK One featuring Aby Wolf

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    BK-One – Love Like That feat. Aby Wolf by SwipeDS 3,483 views

This minimalistic track features soaring, layered vocals by Aby Wolf. It was surprising to come across because the other songs from the album are heavier hitting hip-hop songs laced with Brazilian tropicalia.

6. De Donde Vengo Yo: ChocQuibTown

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    CHOCQUIBTOWN-DE DONDE VENGO YO by ChocQuibTown 1,060,639 views

A hot hip-hop/reggaeton track from Colombia’s ChocQuibTown that always gets the dance floor moving. Goyo, the lady emcee, has amazing flow and the group aims to bring awareness to the plight of Afro-Colombians.

7. Bubuia: Ceu featuring Negresko Sis

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    C̩u РBubuia by sixdegreesrecords 131,499 views

Ceu has made a name for herself by juxtaposing the cosmopolitan downtown Sao Paulo sound with ethereal vocals. This track features harmonies by lady acapella group Negresko Sis.

8. Right Here: DJ Afro featuring Kate Atherto

DJ Afro (aka Jose Luis Pardo) put out his first solo album this year after spending 20 years as the mastermind behind the sound of Venezuelan dance band Los Amigos Invisibles. After working with one male vocalist for all those years in LAI he was able to spread his wings and work with various female singers. I loved the result on this track.

9. Sister in the Radio; Dengue Fever

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    Dengue Fever – Sister In The Radio (Fantasy, 2011) by DocteurSphereNan 791 views

This is a spooky and haunting track from Cambodian psychedelic rock revivalists Dengue Fever (see below). A good one for closing out the night.

10. Cosmic Love: Florence and the Machine


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    Florence + The Machine – Cosmic Love by FlorenceMachineVEVO 6,668,300 views

Florence Welch was one of the most popular artists to gain prominence in the past year so I know this isn’t the most original selection. But her vocal fearlessness in this track harkens back to Annie Lennox, which is always a good thing.

Intrigued by her choices we interviewed Mirissa Neff about her influences, tastes as well as her current projects.

KS: You have Caribbean and Ukrainian roots, not to mention that you grew up in New York City in the Seventies.  I am curious what were your musical influences?

DJ FELINA: My mom is from Barbados and my dad’s heritage is Eastern European. They met in NYC’s hip 1960s downtown scene. As a kid I remember hearing Nina Simone and Carly Simon on our living room turntable, as well as dancing to the sounds of disco divas like Donna Summer.

KS:  What music got you into DJ-ing? Which female performers did you admire?

DJ FELINA:When I started DJ-ing in San Francisco I was obsessed with Brazilian music. There are so many facets to the sounds of Brazil, and as a result there are countless amazing ladies representing those different facets. A handful of the women whose music really affected me were tropicalia star Gal Costa, psychedelic rocker Rita Lee, samba diva Elza Soares, and forro singer Elba Ramalho. To choose one track would be near impossible but an album that resonated for a long time was the O Grande Encontro album by Vinicius de Moraes featuring Maria Creuza. It’s on the melancholy side so I usually played those tracks at the end of the night.

KS: There are not that many women DJ’s out there, who was your inspiration as you started your DJ career?
DJ FELINA: When I joined WAMH (Amherst’s radio station) as a freshman I was fortunate that the station’s DJ staff was chock full of strong-minded women who were passionate about music radio. They inspired me to take broadcasting seriously, and to trust that I had something unique to offer as a DJ.

KS: Do you actually (unconsciously or not) choose female performers when creating your sets?
DJ FELINA: I do seek out female performances when I’m crafting my sets, to contrast the timbre and quality of female voices with male-dominated tracks. The effect varies widely depending on the song and I feel like any attempt at defining that effect will sound cliched, but let’s just say that male and female voices evoke vastly different responses from audiences.

KS:  As a current reporter for the PBS series “Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders” are there any international female artists we should be keeping our eyes on?

DJ FELINA: Sound Tracks has been such a wonderful project to work on. Our team (headed up by executive producer Steve Talbot and public radio’s Marco Werman) is always on the lookout for innovative stories related to music from all over the world.

Almost all of the segments I’ve worked on for Sound Tracks and our online companion series for PBS.org “Quick Hits” have featured women… from Mariza, the queen diva of Portuguese fado, to the rock and roll of Scotland’s KT Tunstall. Most recently I interviewed the LA-based Cambodian psychedelic rock band Dengue Fever. The band’s lead singer Chhom Nimol told a deeply moving story about the inspiration behind their beautiful song “Sister in the Radio”. Without giving too much away the story touches on how her family was affected by the Khmer Rouge regime and how a chance moment listening to the radio brought a glimmer of hope.

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Funding for this series comes from:

National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Further Support Provided By:

NPR Kitchen Sisters


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