Music frequently serves as a bridge linking different cultures, and is often a medium for political expression, protest, and social commentary. Those of us of a certain age can remember singing along to “all we are saying, is give peace a chance.” And we womenablers also love to shout out such women’s empowerment refrains as “I am woman, hear me roar” and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me” (both of which date your humble author as a certified Baby Boomer).
Womenable recently came across a very interesting National Public Radio story about a “Playing for Change” video project, which splices together a variety of musicians around the world singing and playing the Ben E. King song “Stand By Me.” While it features only a few women, it is nonetheless worth a look.
In addition, and to make sure we balance this video with some women-powered content, here are some interesting “you go, girl” songs and music-related items from around the world. Peace out, sisters:
- Blessing events with song: Your author participated in several workshops in South Africa back in 2005 and 2006 during the course of writing a strategic framework for women’s enterprise in that country. At every event, women would break out into song. I learned that “malibongwe” (when sung by women) means, essentially, “you go, girl.” This article notes that women broke into song recently in Tiruchi, India as a new Women’s Empowerment Resource Centre was opened. What better way to celebrate?
- Soowanikwe: The University of Michigan (M Go Blue!) recently reported in its alumni newsletter about a project to document, preserve and teach the native Ojibwe language, Anishinaabemowin. As a part of that effort, they have recorded and posted a song entitled “Soowanikwe (The Power of Women).” Click here to listen.
- Music competition in Ghana: The Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy in Ghana recently announced a songwriting competition for women’s empowerment songs. Check out the information in this blog post.
- Chick power lists from the blogosphere: There are a number of blog posts and top ten lists referring to affirming “you go, girl” focused songs. Here are a few:
- Hijas Americanas blogpost (2007)
- Top Ten Women’s Empowerment songs from TopTenTopTen.com
- Top Ten Boomer Women’s Empowerment Songs from Talk2Bev blogpost (2008)
- Top Ten Women Empowerment list from a Gen Y blogger, Thoughts of a Dancer (2008)
- Another great Top Ten from 20-something blogger, Young, Political and Fabulous (2009)
- Empowerment videos: The Women’s News Network’s Empowering Women video links
And here are some of Womenable’s favorite “empowered women” songs:
- Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
- You Can Have Everything You Need But Me – Nanci Griffith
- With Luck in My Eyes – kd lang
- RESPECT – Aretha Franklin (of course!!)