female & composer

February 18, 2020

This week is about contemplating and answering questions and taking a critical view in the mirror. Participating in a research about Dutch female composers. And i have been asked to do an interview about being a female composer, this q/a will be published online next month. One of the questions: have you ever experienced difficulty or positive discrimination being a female composer.

 

'An artist is completely free to engage with whatever things in the universe s/he wants to engage.' Antjie Krog
Most of the time i initiate projects myself. I love to have and maintain as much freedom as possible. Because i am an autonomous artist. To be quite honest i have never had real difficulties or (positive) discrimination issues being a female composer, at least i like to think so. (i shall elaborate later .. )

 

(HARP)music fused with other art-forms fabrics another sound - motion - shape - color - vision, therefore i use the trial/error method for (free)improv., sound art experiments, spoken and written word (poetry) & (modern) visual art @ my HARPlab., where music becomes visible, tactile, moving or a speaking voice and visual art audible. Seemingly unusual ARTfusions trigger innovation, when different worlds meet, exciting new ideas and cutting-edge formats might happen and appear to be of added value. These try-outs inspire to learn and renew my work without artistic compromise, to remain the integrity of the productions. Even-though i take a step back regularly to review and reflect, i am on a constant sound-search - a life-long journey - to go further and forth.

 

But I have had several issues with sexism in my recording practice. I choose to share a true and seemingly lighthearted story, i just want to show a mechanism, not the boring details of my private life. In 2006, when i founded Harp and Soul Music, i wanted to purchase some hq microphones and other gear to built my own recording studio. At the same store happened to be a male artist who was also interested in purchasing some new and quite expensive stuff. This is what happened. The sales guy sold the expensive material to the male artist and did want not sell me anything - he did not even listen to me - because he thought i did not know what i was doing, he felt that i needed to go for recordings to a prof. studio, bye bye. In this case i was flabbergasted and said nothing, i just left empty-handed. The sales guy obviously crossed several boundaries that i needed to protect better. I felt incompetent as a woman. And i cried out of unexpressed anger. I felt encouraged to work a little harder, i became more creative and a few months later i had my own studio where i compose, record music for film, multi-media and art projects. And i am independent!

 

'Anger is a powerful emotion -- it warns us of threat, insult, indignity and harm. But across the world, girls and women are taught that their anger is better left unvoiced, says author Soraya Chemaly. Why is that, and what might we lose in this silence? In a provocative, thoughtful talk, Chemaly explores the dangerous lie that anger isn't feminine, showing how women's rage is justified, healthy and a potential catalyst for change.'

Thanks to youtube i found about some powerful women who talk in an assertive way - not (passive) aggressively, dominating or bitchy, but clear and  in loving constructive way and creative with anger - i tent to zone out when people get angry in a loud manner - i just hear noise. And when i feel angry i tear up because somehow i feel powerless. I have not learnt to be assertive. Never felt that i deserved to be heard. Now i am learning to express myself more clearly through words - all sorts of emotions by the way - instead of music. And omg i am sometimes so lost in translation. But i learned about the power of women's anger through the amazing Soraya Chemaly.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMt0K-AbpCU Communication can still be a bitch ;)
 

 

 

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