Women are sorely underrepresented in electronic music.
Of that there is no doubt, and unsurprisingly it’s been a topic of considerable recent interest. If boiled down to percentages, estimates of female DJs appearing on festival bills range anywhere from three to ten per cent, and let’s bear in mind that festivals are generally able to accommodate a much larger scope and wider variety of genre.
In light of the recent extraordinary efforts and participation of those in support of women, whether in the collective solidarity of global marches, in creative expression, or in proactive or reactive protest, I thought it as good a time as any to recognise and reflect on the largely marginalised and ignored contributions that women have made to the history of electronic music, both locally and internationally.
Women’s contributions to electronic music are just as important, just as pioneering, and just as varied – if not more so. Often obfuscated in sight and sound or rendered inconspicuous, it’s only in recent years that we have seen a more concerted effort to recognise the efforts of women throughout electronic music’s history, thanks in part to the extraordinary success and rise in popularity of The Black Madonna [above] and Nina Kraviz, among others.
Aside from being an outstanding DJ, producer, label manager and creative director, The Black Madonna in particular is a refreshingly overt and pronounced modern voice for women in music (along with queer culture). Have a listen to any of her mixes or interviews and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get a better appreciation of what I mean. Musically, she blends house, disco, soul, techno, gospel, and everything in between, and she has about as much fun mixing it as you do dancing, that’s for sure.
That in mind, recognition and equality should not be burdened to the few, whether the individual or collective. It is as much a matter of unity and of grassroots support, where awareness and action invigorates and drives the issue. It has a follow-on effect: where the majority of role models are men due to their overwhelming saturation and representation within the culture, we now have more women to aspire to, to recognise and to respect.
It would be a significant injustice to keep this to but one very short overview, so look out for more parts to this series, including pieces with local female artists and DJs from past and present (and future, if that makes sense).
[The Black Madonna by Aldo Paredes]
This week’s playlist:
New Music For Electronic And Recorded Media: Women In Electronic Music, a compilation of electronic/avant-garde compositions featuring early work from Laurie Anderson and deep listening pioneer Pauline Oliveros. Also check out The Black Madonna’s LWE (Little White Earbuds) Podcast 156 for tasty house and gospel grooves, and the soulful funk of The Edge Of Daybreak’s Eyes Of Love LP, reissued by Numero Group with their typically loving, attentive care.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival @Sydney College of the Arts
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 11
Mark De Clive-Lowe @Cake Wines Cellar Door
Ron Costa, Front Left @Home Nightclub
DJ Stingray 313 @Secret Location TBA
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 25
Lazare Hoche @Civic Underground