Black Women In Punk: Part 4

 

Photo Credits: Honeychild Coleman (Photo by Ed Marshall Photography NYC), Kathy Foster (Not sure, but if this is yours please let me know!), Shingai Shoniwa (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images), Tracy Wormworth (Not sure, but if this is yours please let me know!

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This is the last part of a four part series exploring Black Women who are in punk bands. Last but not least to be featured are the following talented ladies.

Honeychild Coleman (top left): From Kentucky, Honeychild Coleman’s influence has extended across various well-known bands, including “The Slits, Greg Tate’s Burnt Sugar Arkestra , Mad Professor, Apollo Heights , Death Comet Crew (with Rammellzee), Gregor Asche AKA DJ Olive and Raz Mesinai’s Badawi” (1). Besides being a solo artist, she also plays guitar. Her music was featured in the groundbreaking film Pariah. Suggested Song: Echelon (Live) (WebsiteFacebookTwitter)

Kathy Foster (top right): Kathy Foster is best known as the bassist for punk band The Thermals, and plays drums for All Girl Summer Fun Band as well. She is original from California, but moved to Portland, Oregan around 1998. Suggested Song: A Pillar of Salt (Live) (Kathy Foster Wikipedia)

Shingai Shoniwa (bottom left): Shingai Shoniwa is associated with post-punk band the Noisettes, where she plays bass and provides leading vocals. According to Wikipedia, her first name means “be bold/courageous/strong” in the Shona language, which is a Bantu language native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Shingai met future Noisettes bandmate Dan Smith at the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology (located in Croydon), which she attended. The Noisettes have reached critical acclaim, having been praised by Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, and others. Suggested Song: Never Forget You (Live) (WikipediaInstagram)

Tracy Wormworth (bottom right): Tracy Wormworth comes from a family of musicians — her brother Jimmy Wormworth is a drummer for The Conan O’Brien show, and her father and sister are also musicians (a jazz drummer and vocalist, respectively). Tracy herself plays bass guitar, currently as a member of the B-52s, but originally as a member of new wave band The Waitresses. She has toured with many well-known acts besides the B-52s, including Cyndi Lauper, Sting, and Phyllis Hyman amongst many others. Suggested Song: I Know What Boys Like (Wikipedia)

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If you missed the other parts of the Punk series, they are here: Part 1Part 2Part 3

Check out the Black Women in Metal Series as well: Part 1 Part 2Part 3Part 4

Black Women In Punk: Part 3

Osa Atoe is a punk powerhouse and multi-instrumentalist who has been featured in several bands. Osa is also behind the Black Punk centered zine Shotgun Seamstress. Bands she’s played in include New Bloods (along with Adee Roberson – another black artist), Firebrand, and Negation. Suggested Music: Firebrand – EP (2011)

Ally Lowe is the lead singer of Texas punk band The Atomic Tanlines. With her growling, power house vocals, Ally calls to mind great punk singers like Lux Interior from The Cramps, or Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill/Le Tigre. Punk’s not dead, and you’ll believe it after taking a listen at this band. Suggested Song: Dirty Queer Rocknroll (BandcampFacebook)

Rachel Aggs, the lead singer and guitarist of bluesy rock band Trash Kit hails from London. Trash Kit’s music evokes the mood and sounds of the early 1980s post-punk wave (think Public Image Ltd), with a shot of the blues. Suggested Song: Medicine (Facebook)

Joy Vay fronts and plays guitar for NJ based punk band TV Tramps. Anyone who’s a fan of the classic skate punk/pop punk sound will thoroughly enjoy this band. They play fast and hard! Suggested Song: Keep Your Mouth Shut (BandcampFacebook)

Lynette Vertilus is the lead singer for hardcore/powerviolence band Venkman. Check them out if you’re into stomp your face in style hardcore punk — you won’t be disappointed. Suggested Song: Dead End Job (BandcampFacebook)

Kayla Phillips is the lead singer for powerviolence band Bleed The Pigs. Brutal, bold and in your face, Kayla will instantly melt your face with her vocals, and who doesn’t like that? Suggested Song: White Washed (TumblrBandcampFacebook)

Felony Melony, one of the first Black Women rockers I’d ever heard about, is the lead vocalist for Las Vegas, NV punk band The Objex. A former Suicide Girl (which, if you have to ask who they are, you’re too young) and an all around bad ass, Felony Melony and her band once performed in front of a faction of the Aryan Brotherhood. Her band’s another one to get into if you like the skate punk/pop punk sound. Suggested Song: Kill Your Stereotypes (BandcampFacebook)

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This post is part of a series exploring Black Women in Punk music. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here. Part 4 is next!

I had this post on ice for awhile, so I no longer have the photo credits for these images. If one of them is yours and you wish to be credited, please comment here or email jaleesa@blackwomeninrock.info.

Black Women in Punk: British Edition

Black women have always been at the forefront of any type of resistance, so it should come as no surprise that there are a number of punk bands (both past and present) who have featured black women in their ranks. As with black women in metal, black women in punk hold down group roles as singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, and more.

Britain is the birthplace of the music genre now known as punk. As such, I wanted to first focus on a few British ladies who rock punk music, including quite a few who are (or were) foremothers in the field.

Pauline Black (The Selecter, top left): Pauline Black (born Belinda Magnus on October 23, 1953 in Romford, London, England) is the founding member of ska band The Selecter. The band was brought to fruition in 1979, a few years after the peak of the initial punk wave. Along with other ska bands such as the Specials and Madness, Black’s The Selecter have been credited with creating the ska revival movement. Black has also appeared on TV as an actress, and wrote her own autobiography entitled Black By Design, which was released in 2011. Suggested Song: On My Radio. Website: http://theselecter.net/. More information: Pauline Black (Wikipedia)

Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex, top middle): Poly Styrene (born Marianne Joan Elliot-Said on July 3, 1957 in Bromley, Kent, England) was the lead singer of the short-lived but highly influential punk band known as X-Ray Spex. Poly got the idea to form the band after seeing the Sex Pistols at a Hastings Pier performance on her birthday in 1976. The band launched their debut single in 1977, but dissolved in 1978 after Poly began having hallucinations. She was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Poly released her own solo project in 1980, and continued to put out music and perform until her death from breast cancer on April 25, 2011. Suggested Song: Oh Bondage Up Yours! More information: Poly Styrene (Wikipedia)

Rhoda Dakar (The Bodysnatchers, top right): Rhoda Dakar was born in Hampstead, London, England in 1959. She is best known as the lead singer for the band The Bodysnatchers. The band released their first single in 1979, a double A-side with “Let’s Do Rocksteady” on one side and “Ruder Than You” on the other. The band toured with The Selecter, and collaborated with many other ska bands such as The Specials. Rhoda continues to perform and put out music, with her last album having been released in August 2015 (Rhoda Dakar Sings The Bodysnatchers). Suggested Song: Let’s Do Rocksteady Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhodadakarofficial More information: Rhoda Dakar (Wikipedia)

Kalia Whyte (Youth Man, bottom left): Kalia Whyte is the explosive front woman and guitarist of Birmingham, London based punk band Youth Man. Highly recommended for fans of hardcore punk that makes you want to mosh and scream, and one of my personal favorite bands. Check them out on Bandcamp or on Facebook. Suggested song: Pigs Photo credit: andyhphoto

Beverley Ishmael (The Tuts, bottom right): And last, but certainly not least, there’s punk pop powerhouse The Tuts, featuring Beverley Ishmael on drums. Another one of my personal favorite bands, who I love for their empowering lyrics. Listening to this band will make you want to get out there and emphatically smash the patriarchy, whether you’re male, female, or anything in between. You can find them on Bandcamp and on Facebook, among many other social media outlets. Suggested song: 1982

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This is the first part of a dedicated series exploring black women who make punk music. Am I missing anyone here? Let me know in the comments. And stay tuned!

Black Women In Metal: Part 4

   

What’s special about these last four ladies is that they perform as solo-acts, crafting their own special sound while rocking out at the same time. This is the conclusion to our Metal series. The other 3 parts of the series can be found by clicking the following links: Part 1Part 2Part 3

Adore (top left) – One-woman black metal, with artist Adore (Shantell Daggs)  playing all of the instruments on her recordings. If you like having your face melted, then definitely check her out! The Facebook page for her project is here: https://www.facebook.com/1adoremusic/

Dohrn (top right) – For even more face-melting, check out Alicia Warrington’s project Dohrn. Completely heavy, completely brutal, and stunningly good. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dohrnmusic/

Omega Sirius Moon (bottom left) – OSM has a grungy sound that crosses over into stoner territory at times. Nice to listen to. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OmegaMoon/

Kudisan Kai (bottom right) – What’s best about Kudisan Kai are her powerful vocals, laid over tight instrumentation that’s as good as any other alternative band out there. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KudisanKai/

Photo Credits: Adore (FB page), Dohrn (FB page), Omega Sirius Moon (http://omegasiriusmoon.tumblr.com/), Kudisan Kai (FB page)

Black Women In Metal: Part 2

This is a continuation of our Black Women In Metal series. View Part 1 here!

Black women instrumentalists are numerous, and play vital roles in a wide variety of metal bands. Here are five more talented black women who rock out the stage.

Alessandra Sbrana – Drummer for Botswana metal band Skinflint. Skinflint represents a vibrant metal scene in the African country, as discussed in this short documentary clip. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SKINFLINTMETAL

Luanna Nascimento – Screamer/vocalist for Brazilian band Visceral Leishmaniasis. One of the most brvtal black women I’ve come across while running this blog. If you’re into death metal and needed to see a black woman as the focal point, this band is for you. You won’t be disappointed. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VisceralLeishmaniasisBrutalDeathMetal

Larissa Pires – Screamer/vocalist for Brazilian band Retaliação Infernal. Another brvtal lady that leads a death metal/grindcore outfit. Anoher one to check out for the more extreme music fans. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RetaliacaoInfernal/

Cierra White – Drummer for several Colorado-based metal bands: Morbid Asphyxiation, Oak Ash and Thorn, and Mount Cairn. Facebook pages for: Morbid Asphyxiation https://www.facebook.com/morbid.asphyxiation, Oak Ash and Thorn: https://www.facebook.com/OakAshAndThornMetal/, and Mount Cairn: https://www.facebook.com/mountcairncobm/

Diamond Rowe – Lead guitarist for Atlanta-based Tetrarch. Beyond awesome at guitar shredding and is awesome live. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tetrarchmusic/

Stay tuned for Part 3 next week!

Photo Credits: Alessandra Sbrana (Skinflint FB Page), Luanna Nascimento (The Female Vocalists of Extreme Music), Larissa Pires (Retaliação Infernal FB Page), Cierra White (Oak Ash & Thorn FB page)

Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-And-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Long before “women in rock” became a media catchphrase, African American guitar virtuoso Rosetta Tharpe proved in spectacular fashion that women could rock. Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, in 1915, Tharpe was gospel’s first superstar and the preeminent crossover figure of its golden age (1945-1965).

“Shout, Sister, Shout ” is the first biography of this trailblazing performer who influenced scores of popular musicians, from Elvis Presley and Little Richard to Eric Clapton and Etta James. Tharpe was raised in the Pentecostal Church, steeped in the gospel tradition, but she produced music that crossed boundaries, defied classification, and disregarded the social and cultural norms of the age; incorporating elements of gospel, blues, jazz, popular ballads, folk, country, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. Tharpe went electric early on, captivating both white and black audiences in the North and South, in the U.S. and internationally, with her charisma and skill. People who saw her perform claimed she made that guitar talk. Ambitious, flamboyant, and relentlessly public, Tharpe even staged her own wedding as a gospel concert-in a stadium holding 20,000 people.

Wald’s eye-opening biography, which draws on the memories of more than a hundred people who knew or worked with Tharpe, introduces us to this vibrant, essential, yet nearly forgotten musical heavyweight whose long career helped define gospel, r&b, and rock music. A performer who resisted categorization at many levels-as a gospel musician, a woman, and an African American-Tharpe demands that we rethink our most basic notions of music history and American culture. Her story forever alters our understanding of both women in rock and U.S. popular music.

Source: Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-And-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Paperback) | Charis Books & More and Charis Circle

Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie’s Blues

Universally recognized as one of the greatest blues artists, Memphis Minnie (1897-1973) wrote and recorded hundreds of songs. Blues people as diverse as Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Big Mama Thornton, and Chuck Berry have acknowledged her as a major influence. At a time when most female vocalists sang Tin Pan Alley material, Minnie wrote her own lyrics and accompanied her singing with virtuoso guitar playing. Thanks to her merciless imagination and dark humor, her songs rank among the most vigorous and challenging popular poetry in any language.

“Woman with Guitar” is the first full-length study of the life and work of this extraordinary free spirit, focusing on the lively interplay between Minnie’s evolving artistry and the African American community in which she lived and worked. Drawing on folklore, psychoanalysis, critical theory, women’s studies, and surrealism, the authors’ explorations of Minnie’s songs illuminate the poetics of popular culture as well as the largely hidden history of working-class women’s self-emancipation.

(via Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie’s Blues (Paperback) | Charis Books & More and Charis Circle)