The first time Björk came to my attention was as a teenager in 2001 when she was famously scolded by the fashion police for wearing her swan dress at the Oscars. Little did I know or remember that she was nominated for best original song for Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark film and performed it that night. Who are some other remarkable womxn musicians? Check out the playlist at the end of the article!
Björk was also the lead actor in Dancer in the Dark by Lars von Trier. He is known for being a pain to work with. While not calling him by name, in 2017 Björk shared her experiences of harassment from ‘a Danish director’ while filming ‘a movie’.
Finding new music in an age concerned with nostalgia
People over the age of 30 are worse at keeping up with new music releases. When it comes to finding music of femxle musicians, well it can be challenging to find cool new music to listen to anyway. But it’s not for a lack of new music releases!
One way to find new music to listen to is through soundtracks of favorite TV shows or films. I’ve listened to the soundtracks of Big Little Lies and One Mississippi a lot. Another great way to find music the low-effort way is to listen to Spotify playlists of music festivals such as SXSW or Le Guess Who and Into The Great Wide Open in the Netherlands. Or to check the playlists of music magazines Pitchfork, Stereogum and Birp.fm.
Keep in mind that your dollars can make the difference in keeping struggling musicians going to make excellent new music. It seems musicians of our current time face the challenge of competing with endless revival concert tours of bands that haven’t made any of their most important work in the 21st century. The audience pays hefty fees for these golden oldies, while some have probably already amassed a fortune. Besides, do you really want to finance someone’s 15th lamborghini?
Here are some personal favorites, and be sure to check out the Spotify playlist as well which features many more artists.
A life-long Americana, Folk Rock and Alternative Country legend, Lucinda Williams grew up in America’s South. She is the daughter of poet and literature professor Miller Williams and amateur pianist Lucille Fern Day.
Fun fact: The song (title) 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten was graffiti inscripted on a wall Lucinda Williams came across. Check out the song for some truly original songwriting.
Want to get closer to the artist? Lucinda Williams has been interviewed on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast.
The folk musician Jessica Pratt brings a new and unique sound and is often associated with ‘freak folk’. According to Pitchfork ‘Jessica Pratt spins fantasy worlds bound to bewitch, dreamscapes that spiral towards the surreal, psychedelic spirituals that nourish.’ I’ve had the pleasure to see her live in a church in Utrecht at Le Guess Who in 2018.
Keep things a bit light but no less tight with the dreamy pop of the Australian Hatchie, featuring 90s pop culture nostalgia even visualized in their video ‘Sure’.
Hatchie was planning to tour in 2020.
Entering The Internet in a Google search bar feels funny, but they do bring a 21st century electronic sound into their R&B soul tracks. The band’s 2015 album Ego Death was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album. In 2017 singer Syd released a solo album ‘Fin’ and different band members have released or are working on solo albums at the moment.
Coming from a Puerto Rican family with a dad who loves classical music, growing up in Connecticut in the USA, having studied Jazz, it all adds up to the musical style of vocalist and musician Xenia Rubinos that ventures into hip-hop and R&B. But her music is hard to classify.
Just now in November 2019 Xenia Rubinos has released new singles “Diosa” and “Bugeisha” – the latter meaning female warrior in Japanese. In 2019 Xenia Rubinos appeared on a double single by the Battles, “They Played It Twice”
Eefje de Visser
In the category of dreamy synths comes the music of Eefje de Visser, with vocals in Dutch it actually manages to transcend language barriers and in 2020 her tour includes the countries Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark and Poland. Because of Corona she has been working on a special Video Tour and online release.
Secretly attending music school while also studying Economics when she moved to the Netherlands at 18 from Curaçao, Izaline Calister brought us jazzy interpretations of Curaçaoan songs ever since.
Her repertoire also includes original Afro-Caribbean–Calypso songs in the Papiamento language. Izaline Calister famously performs barefoot and she has collaborated with many a jazz musician. See her live sometime!
A Cape-Verdian singer living and working in Lisbon, Portugal, Mayra Andrade lends a new interpretation to morna, which is traditional Cape Verdian music. Her first album came out in 2006 and ever since she remains active and up to date with current music. Her latest album is from 2019.
Mayra Andrade was planning to tour Europe early 2020 with many dates in France.
Flor de Toloache
An all femxle Mariachi band, this group has been awarded Grammy 2017 Latin Grammy Winner for Best Ranchero Album, ‘Las Caras Lindas’.
Flor de Toloache was planning to tour the US in 2020 and will hopefully also come to Europe sometime.
H.E.R., Cowboy Junkies, PJ Harvey, Zoe Kravitz, Janelle Monae, Florence and the machine, Geneva Jacuzzi, Pip Blom, FKA Twigs,
Check out the Spotify playlist if you haven’t yet, open Spotify to shuffle:
There is no need to finance the 15th lamborghini of yesteryear’s artists when there are plenty of talented womxn working hard to earn recognition and a living. If these artists are not tuned to your personal tastes, then get out there and find out which current musicians are!
Please comment with your favorite womxn musicians! There will be another article with womxn musicians who made a statement in music history.