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Powerful Music by Powerful Women

By Billy | October 26, 2011

I didn’t expect to write this now, but it’s hit me so it’s happening. I always have the inspiration to do one thing I’ve been meaning to do, when it’s really time to go do something else I wana do. Does this happen to you? I want to go make marionette puppets, but I simply must write.

This is another music post. It’s powerful music made by powerful women.


The place to start, then, is the first song I remember listening to on the internet practically non stop. This song was my comfort for many days as a child. I was ashamed to sing along, but when I was alone I did. India Arie. I don’t really like any of the other songs I’ve heard from her, but this one is spot on. This is what The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s voice sounds like.

So India Arie was one of the first women to make a song I was obsessed with. I don’t know just yet if this post is music I’ve been obsessed with or powerful music. I just don’t know!

To stay on the safe side, I’ll move on to Ani DiFranco. This lady. Just. Oh my gods. Which song do I put? There’s just too many. I guess I’ll go for the first one that I really fell in love with. This song also happened to be among those she played at Bonnaroo, and I’ve never been so joyful to say “Fuck you” to nobody in particular, and everyone at once.

Ani taught me taught to dance, be muddy, get wet, and be happy when I’m not. I’m glad to share.

Moving on. Hum. Still don’t know the scope of this post, so I’ll move on with Dessa. I downloaded this album because I read a random internet review that said, “Sounds like Ani Difranco made a rap album. This album’s got tits.” I like the idea of “having tits” being an admirable quality, I guess comparable to saying a man’s got some balls, but I think it still leaves place for undue oppression. In any case. Dessa:

There are so many quotable pieces of this song, and most of what I’ve heard Dessa say. Intelligent rap is a beautiful thing. At one time in this CD, (A Badly Broken Code) she mentions the Chicago Manual of Style, Sylvia Plath, and Alexander Pope all in one song.

So, Dessa is also a spoken word artist, and I’ve opened up a door to a different world. Enter: Andrea Gibson. In the States, I really enjoyed going to open mic nights at various locales around Harrisonburg. I only comfortable reading a few of my own poems in front of a huge crowd, but I think every single person on the planet needs to hear this, and I recite it as often as possible in front of as many people as possible.

But this brings me back to a musical spoken word combo. Rising Appalachia. Two women, a powerful message, powerful voices. More powerful than the nuclear bomb worth of explosives that blew up the Appalachian mountains this week, more powerful than the people singing, or doing the blowing up. Man. Truth has a power and a life of it’s own.

So I’ve figured out the scope. It’s whatever is big enough to fit Imogen Heap in. Once upon a time, I could NOT stop listening to this one song. Why? Because listen to it, that’s why.

And then from Imogen, it’s pretty hard to not think about Regina Spektor. Another one where I don’t know where to start… I have discussed with friends, and we have decided if you don’t like a Regina song, you’re just not ready. It’s your fault, not hers.
I don’t know why I’m choosing this song:

Since I think Samson is my favorite and Oedipus is her most genius. I guess it’s the Russian that tips me over today.

Speaking of languages ya gararyu nimnoga (I speak very little of)
Rebekah Del Rio! Because I dont know? Maybe it’s the movie that made me fall in love with it, and the ridiculous feeling the whole film gives me in my belly, but now I have a Pavlovian love for this song. Damn, I wish I invented that word, but it’s already real.

Aaaaand we finish it off with Christian Rock! …. ?
So. Jesus Culture. Things Churchians do in the name of Christ makes me ashamed to identify as a follower of Christ. (The inherent tautologic nature of the Christian faith is also a bummer, but that’s another book). Nonetheless, some Christians get it. Some Christians follow their Christ more than their Church, and I think this lady gets it, conveys it, and sounds pretty nice while doing it. I hated the prayer, and now I like it.

So. There are plenty more powerful women and songs out there, but that’s all I’ve thought of this afternoon, and my scope is certainly restricted to what’s had a heavy influence on my life in particular.

As an afterthought, Nina Simone!

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