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Feminist Music in Canada

Feminist music (or Women's music): Music with lyrics written from a feminist perspective and usually, but not exclusively, sung for feminist audiences. The description has also been applied generally to pop music performed by groups whose membership - ie, all, or in the majority, women - implies a statement of self-determination. Employing folk, rock, punk, reggae and rap styles, women's music has given voice to the issues raised by the feminist movement of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Subject matter includes childbirth, parenthood, sexual orientation, violence against women and children, and discrimination and equality in the workplace.

Feminism first found expression in Canadian music in 1975 in the songs of Rita MacNeil's first LP, Born a Woman, and in Jacqueline Lemay's 'La Moitié du monde est une femme'. Other early feminist singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists included Eileen Brown, Ferron, Jeanette Gritanni, Jane Perks, Connie Smith (Kuhns), Carol Street, and the band Contageous on the west coast; Heather Bishop, Connie Kaldor, Noelle Hall, Kris Purdy, and the band Walpurgis Night on the prairies; C.T. and April, Sara Ellen Dunlop, Marianne Girard, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Marie-Lynn Hammond, Arlene Mantle, Lorraine Segato, Sherry Shute, and the band Mama Quilla II in Ontario, and Angèle Arsenault, Edith Butler, and the bands Marianna Bazooka and Wondeur Brass (Justine) in Quebec.

In Canada the feminist and folk music scenes overlapped in the 1980s - ie, feminist singers have appeared at folk festivals as well as at events sponsored by women's cultural or political organizations. (This, in marked contrast to the USA, where women's music is generally independent of the mainstream of contemporary folk.) The earliest Canadian performers, however, worked exclusively within the women's community - at coffeehouses (eg, Full Circle in Vancouver, Clementine's or the Three of Cups, and Fly By Night in Toronto, and the Powerhouse Gallery and Co-Op Femme or Co-Op Lesbienne in Montreal), art galleries, and social and health centres - and have continued to flourish through an independent network of production groups (eg, Womankind Productions in Vancouver, Sappho Sound in Toronto), community and college radio programs, etc. For the most part, recordings have been produced for independent labels owned by the musicians themselves - eg, SPPS-Disques (Arsenault, Butler, Lemay), Mother of Pearl (Bishop), and Lucy (Ferron).

Feminist music has been a major component of the small West Kootenays Women's Festival started in 1974 at Castlegar, BC (continuing in 1991 near Nelson). Many concerts and larger events have been organized in Toronto by Womynly Way Productions (established in 1980), while a Canadian Women's Music and Cultural Festival was held 1984-6 in Winnipeg, and a Festival International de musiciennes innovatrices was organized by Productions Super Mémé (see Justine) in 1988 in Montreal. Women's music was first introduced into the contemporary folk mainstream with the 1980 Vancouver Folk Festival and the 1982 Winnipeg Folk Festival, subsequently taking its place at many similar events across the country.

Among other Canadian women aligned in the 1980s and early 1990s with feminist music were Lillian Allen, Suzanne Bird, Micheline Goulet, Faith Nolan, Alanis Obomsawin, Louise Rose, Itah Sadu, Djanet Sears, Lucie Blue Tremblay and Gwen Swick. Ensembles, in a variety of styles, have included Assar Santana and Chamel #6, Demi-Monde, Four the Moment, the Heretics, Moral Lepers, No Frills, Parachute Club, the Pillow Sisters, the Ruggedy Annes, and Tête de vache. Several Canadians have been popular on the US women's music scene, including Allen, Bishop, Ferron, Kaldor, Nolan, Tremblay (b Montreal 1958), and the guitarist Shute (b London, Ont, 1949). Ferron's 'Testimony' became an international anthem of women's music in the early 1980s. Other significant songs in Canadian feminist music include MacNeil's 'Born a Woman,' Kaldor's 'Strength, Love and Laughter,' and the Parachute Club's 'Rise Up'.

Suzanne Bird Heart Full of Soul. (1988). Rayne Productions, unnumbered (cass)

Beverly Glenn-Copeland At Last! (1983). Atlast Records ALR-010

Marianne Girard When It Hurts. (1982). Sailor SAIL-2002

Heretics Mass Hysteria. (1991). Fringe FDP-3105 (CD)

Mama Quilla II Mama Quilla II. (1982). Tupperwaros TR-001 (EP)

Arlene Mantle A Class Act. 1986. One the Line OTL-003

- In Solidarity. On the Line OTL-006

Moral Lepers Turn to Stone. (1982). Mo-Da-Mu 006

Faith Nolan Africville. 1986. MWIC 11161

- Sistership. 1987. MWIC 11162

- Freedom to Love. 1989. Aural Tradition ATR-302

Kris Purdy Kris Purdy.. Bang Clunk BC-1 (cass)

Ruggedly Annes Jagged Thoughts. (1985). Tabb Records, unnumbered

Sherry Shute Sherry Shute. (1986). Lois Carroll Music, unnumbered (EP)

Lucie Blue Tremblay Lucie Blue Tremblay. (1986). Olivia LC-947

- Tendresse. (1989). Olivia LC-955

See also entries for Allen, Arsenault, Bishop, Butler, Ferron, Four the Moment, Hammond, Justine, Kaldor, Lemay, MacNeil, Obomsawin, and Parachute Club

Bibliography

Schwartz, Ellen. Born a Woman (Winlaw, BC, 1988)

Kuhns, Connie. 'Canadian women's music festivals,' Hot Wire: The Journal of Women's Music and Culture, vol 5, May 1989

- 'Women's Music and the mothers of invention,' Living The Changes (Winnipeg 1990)


Canadian Women in Music: A Selective Bibliography

Compiled by Cheryl Gillard Music Division, National Library of Canada

Albani, Emma. -- Forty years of song. -- London : Mills and Bonn Ltd., [1911]. -- 285 p.

Amtmann, William. -- La musique au Québec, 1600-1875. -- Montréal : Éditions de l'Homme, c1976. -- 420 p. -- ISBN 0775905178

Amtmann, William. -- Music in Canada 1600-1800. -- [Montreal] : Habitex Books, c1975. -- 320 p. -- ISBN 088912020X

Benoît, Réal. -- La Bolduc. -- Montréal : Éditions de l'Homme, c1959. -- 123 p.

Bertrand, Joanne. -- "Elles..persistent et signent." -- Chansons d'aujourd'hui. --Vol. 14, no.1 (Mars 1991).-- ISSN 0227.-- P. 20-21

Bowers, Jane M. and Urban Bareis. -- "Bibliography on music and gender : women in music". -- World of music. -- 33.2 (1991). -- ISSN 00438774 -- P. 65-103

Canadian music: issues of hegemony and identity. -- Edited by Beverley Diamond and Robert Witmer. -- Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press Inc., c1994. -- 615p. -- ISBN 1551300311

Cantin, Paul. -- Alanis Morissette: you oughta know. -- Toronto: Stoddart, c1997. -- 192 p. -- ISBN 0773758712

Caputo, Virginia. -- "Add technology and stir: music, gender, and technology in today's music classrooms." -- The recorder. -- Vol. 37, no. 2 (Mar./Apr. 1995). -- ISSN 07047231

Caputo, Virginia and Roberta Lamb. -- "Feminist theory and music II : a continuing dialogue : Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York". -- Canadian university music review. - - Vol. 14 (1994). -- ISSN 07100353. -- P. 182-187

Childerhose, Buffy. -- From Lilith to Lilith Fair. -- Vancouver: Madrigal Press, c1998. -- 128p. -- ISBN 1894160002

Citron, Marcia J. -- Gender and the musical canon. -- Cambridge, U.K. : Cambridge University Press, 1993. -- 307 p. -- ISBN 0521392926 (bd.)

Cohen, Aaron. -- International encyclopedia of women composers. -- 2nd ed., rev. and enl. -- New York : Books and Music, U.S.A., c1987. -- 2 vol., 1151 p. -- ISBN 0961748508 (vol. 1), 0961748516 (vol. 2)

Creighton, Helen. -- The best of Helen Creighton. -- Selected and introduced by Rosemary Bachman. -- Hantsport (N.S.) : Lancelot Press, 1988. -- 143 p. -- ISBN 0889993785

Dalen, Brenda. -- "The Composer's voice: 'what women can do.'" -- Canadian university music review. -- Vol. 16, no. 1 (1995). -- ISSN 07100353 -- P. 14-40


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Dixon, Gail. -- "The string quartets of Barbara Pentland". -- Canadian university music review. -- Vol. 11, no. 2 (1991). -- ISSN 07100353. -- P. 94-121

Drinker, Sophie. -- Music and women : the story of women in their relation to music. Washington : Zinger, 1948. -- 323 p. -- ISBN 0892010118

Druckles, Vincent H. and Michael A. Keller. -- "Women and music". -- Music reference and research materials : an annotated bibliography. -- 4th ed., revised. -- New York : Schirmer, 1994. -- 740 p. -- ISBN 0028708229

Eastman, Sheila and Timothy J. McGee. -- Barbara Pentland. -- Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c1983. -- 134 p. -- ISBN 0802055621

Edwards, Barry et al. -- "Collecting the lore of maritime folk". -- Fugue. -- Vol. 2, no. 4 (December 1977). -- ISSN 07028393. -- P. 18-19, 27

Elliott, Robin. -- Counterpoint to a city: the first one hundred years of the Women's Musical Club of Toronto. -- Toronto: ECW Press, c1997. -- 249 p.-- ISBN 1550223062

French, Iris, ed. -- Association of Canadian women composers directory. -- Toronto : Association of Canadian Women Composers, 1987

French, Maida Parlow. -- Kathleen Parlow : a portrait. -- Toronto : Ryerson Press, c1967. -- 167 p.

Gates, Eugene. -- "Where are all the women composers?" -- Canadian music educator. -- Vol. 35, no. 5 (Spring 1994). -- ISSN 00084549 -- P. 17-19

Gillard, Cheryl A. -- "Women musicians in Canada : on the record at the Music Division." -- National Library news. -- Vol. 27, nos. 3-4 (March-April 1995). -- ISSN 00279633. -- P. 11-14. -- Titre français : «Les musiciennes canadiennes gravent leur nom dans l'histoire à la Division de la musique»

Giroux, Robert. -- Le guide de la chanson québécoise. -- Montréal : Triptyque, c1991. -- 179 p. -- ISBN 2890311244

Grégoire-Reid, Claire and Micheline Vézina-Demers. -- "Exposition au monastère des Ursulines de Québec." -- Les cahiers de l'association pour l'avancement de la recherche en musique du Québec. -- no 8 (mai 1987). -- ISSN 08211817 -- P. 80-85

Hambleton, Ronald. -- "Tea with Kathleen Parlow". -- Fugue. -- Vol. 2, no. 6 (February 1978). -- ISSN 07028393. -- P. 12-15

Hartig, Linda. -- Violet Archer: a bio-bibliography. -- New York: Greenwood Press, c1991. -- 153p. -- ISBN 0313264082

Historical anthology of music by women. -- Edited by James R. Briscoe. -- Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1987. -- 402 p. -- ISBN 0253212960 (pa.)

Hixon, Don L. and Don A. Hennessee. -- Women in music : an encyclopedic biobibliography. -- 2nd ed. -- Metuchen (N.J.) : Scarecrow Press, 1993. -- 2 vol., 1824 p. -- ISBN 0810827697 (set)

Kallmann, Helmut. -- A history of music in Canada, 1534-1914. -- Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1960. -- 311 p. -- ISBN 0802050891, 0802061028

Kallmann, Helmut and Gilles Potvin, eds. -- Encyclopedia of music in Canada. -- 2nd ed. -- Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c1992. -- 1524 p. -- ISBN 0802028810. -- Titre français : Encyclopédie de la musique au Canada

Kennedy, Shauna. -- "The real and the perceived: the role of women in the music industry." -- Canadian music trade. -- Vol. 15, no.1 (January 1994). -- ISSN 02259435 -- P. 27-32

Kivi, Linda K. -- Canadian women making music. -- Toronto : Green Dragon Press, 1992. -- 134 p. -- ISBN 0969195583

Koskoff, Ellen. -- "When women play: the relationship between musical instruments and gender style." -- Canadian university music review. -- Vol. 16, no. 1 (1995). -- ISSN 07100353 -- P. 114-127

Kraglund, John. -- Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, Canadian women in the world of music. -- Ottawa: Public Archives, c1968. -- 16p. -- no ISSN

Kydd, Roseanne. -- "Les femmes compositeurs au Canada: données sociologiques et historiques." Sonances. -- Vol.6, no.3 (avril 1987).-- ISSN 07122438 -- P. 16-22.

Lazier, Kate. -- "Where are the women in the pop music business." The Canadian Composer. --no. 244 (October 1989). -- ISSN 0083259. -- P. 20-23. -- Titre français: la place de la femme dans les entreprises musicales

Lefebvre, Marie-Thérèse. -- La création musicale des femmes au Québec. -- Montréal : Éditions du remue-ménage, 1991. -- 148 p. -- ISBN 2890911020

Lefebvre, Marie-Thérèse. -- "Place aux femmes-compositeurs du Quebec." Les cahiers de l'association pour l'avancement de la recherche en musique du Québec. -- no 7 (mai 1988). -- ISSN 08211817 -- P. 79-89

LePage, Jane Weimer. -- Women composers, conductors and musicians of the twentieth century : selected bibliographies. -- Metuchen (N.J.) : Scarecrow Press, 1980. -- ISBN 0810812983 (vol. 1), 0810815974 (vol. 2), 081082082X (vol. 3)

Littlejohn, Maureen. --"Women of spirit, soaring to new heights."-- Official programme '98 Juno Awards.-- P. 18-20, 23, 24. * no ISSN.

Lomax, Carolyn. --"An ugly one will distract me."-- Musicanada. no. 48 (May 1982). -- ISSN 07004745 -- P. 23,24. -- Titre français: Nommez-m'en cinq

Lomax, Carolyn. -- "Women Composers Band Together." Music magazine. -- Vol. 3, no. 6 (Nov./Dec. 1980). -- ISSN 07054009. -- P. 20-23

Lonergan, David. -- La Bolduc : la vie de Mary Travers, 1894-1941. -- Bic (Québec) : Issac-Dion Éditeur, [1992]. -- 212 p.

MacDonald, Cheryl. -- Emma Albani : Victorian diva. -- Toronto : Dundurn Press Ltd., 1984. -- 205 p. -- ISBN 091967075X (bd.), 0919670741 (pa.)

MacMillan, Keith and John Beckwith, eds. -- Contemporary Canadian composers. -- Toronto : Oxford University Press, 1975. -- 248 p. -- ISBN 0195402448

McCartney, Andra. -- "The ambiguous relation." -- Contact (Canadian electroacoustic community). -- Vol. 9, no.1 (Autumn 1995). -- ISSN 08383340. -- P. 43-58. -- Titre français: Le rapport ambigu

McCartney, Andra. -- "The ambiguous relation." -- Contact (Canadian electoacoustic community). -- Vol. 9, no.2 (Spring 1996). ISSN 08383340. -- P. 29-47

McCartney, Andra. --"A prelude to ea gender issues." -- Contact (Canadian electroacoustic community). -- Vol. 8, no 2 (Spring 1995). -- ISSN 08383340. -- P. 68-74. -- Titre français: Un prélude aux problématiques en éa

McClary, Susan. -- Feminine endings : music, gender and sexuality. -- Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1991. -- 220 p. -- ISBN 0816618984 (bd.), 0816618992 (pa.)

McClary, Susan. -- "Towards a feminist criticism of music". -- Canadian university music review. -- Vol. 10, no. 2 (1990). -- ISSN 07100353. -- P. 9-18

Moogk, Edward B. -- Roll back the years : a history of Canadian recorded sound and its legacy : genesis to 1930. -- Ottawa : National Library of Canada, c1975. -- 443 p. -- Titre français : En remontant les années : l'histoire et l'héritage de l'enregistrement sonore au Canada, des débuts à 1930

Pegley, Karen. -- ""Places, everyone": gender and the non-neutrality of music technology."-- The recorder. -- Vol. 37, no. 2 (Mar./Apr. 1995). -- ISSN 07047231. -- P.55-59.

Potvin, Gilles. -- "Emma Albani (1847-1930)." -- Les cahiers de l'association pour l'avancement de la recherche en musique du Québec. -- no 7 (mai 1988). -- ISSN 08211817. -- P. 46-64

Roberts, Agnes. -- "The unequal symphony." -- Association of Canadian Women Composers Newsletter.-- Spring 1985. -- ISSN 11830395.-- P. 8-11

Rooney, Frances. -- "The Montreal women's symphony". -- Atlantis. -- Vol. 5, no. 1 (1979). -- ISSN 07027818. -- P. 70-82

Sabourin, Carmen. -- "La critique féministe étasunienne en musique: pertinence en milieu francophone Québécois." -- Canadian university music review. -- Vol. 18, no.1 (1997). -- ISSN 07100353 -- P.99-118

Sadie, Julie Ann and Rhian Samuel, eds. -- Norton/Grove dictionary of women composers. -- New York : W.W. Norton, 1995. -- 450 p. -- ISBN 0393034879

Schwartz, Ellen. -- Born a woman: seven Canadian women singer-songwriters. -- Winlaw, B.C.: Polestar Press, c1988. -- 155 p.

Sclanders, Ian. -- "She's collecting long lost songs". -- Maclean's. -- Vol. 65, no. 18 (September 1952). -- ISSN 00249262. -- P. 14-15, 54-57

Shepherd, John. -- Music as social text. -- Cambridge (U.K.) : Polity Press, 1991. -- 245 p. -- ISBN 0745608256 (bd.)

Sim, Sheila. -- "Gendered dialectics of the nineteenth century: foundations that have shaped the history of western art music." -- Canadian music educator. -- Vol. 39, no. 1 (Fall 1997). -- ISSN 00084549 -- P. 45-47

Steblin, Rita. -- "The gender stereotyping of musical instruments in the western tradition." -- Canadian university music review. - Vol. 16, no. 1 (1995). -- ISSN 07100353 -- P. 128-144

Toomey, Kathleen M. -- Musicians in Canada : a bio-bibliographical finding list. -- Edited by Kathleen M. Toomey and Stephen C. Willis. -- Ottawa : Canadian Association of Music Libraries, 1981. -- 185 p. -- ISBN 0969058314 (pa.). -- Titre français : Musiciens au Canada : index bio-bibliographique

Tremblay-Matte, Cécile. -- La chanson écrite au féminin : de Madeleine de Verchères à Mitsou, 1730-1990. -- Laval (Qué.) : Éditions Trois, 1990. -- 391 p. -- ISBN 2920887165

Tremblay-Matte, Cécile. -- "Les chansonnières au Québec, 1960-76."-- Les cahiers de l'association pour l'avancement de la recherche en musique du Quebec.-- no 12 (avril 1990). -- ISSN 08211817-- P. 18-47

Turbide, Nadia. -- "Éva Gauthier (1885-1958): première cantatrice canadienne-française d'avant-garde." Les cahiers de l'association pour l'avancement de la recherche en musique du Quebec. -- no 7 (mai 1988). -- ISSN 08211817 -- P. 65-78

Upton, G.P. -- Woman in music. -- 6th ed. -- Chicago : McClurg, 1899.

Willis, Stephen. -- "Archives of Emma Albani at the National Library of Canada". -- National Library news. -- Vol. 25, no. 12 (December 1993). -- ISSN 00279633. -- P. 13-14. -- Titre français : «Documents archivistiques sur Emma Albani conservés à la Bibliothèque nationale du Canada»

Withrow, John B. -- "Ladies of the bow." Bravo.-- Vol.5, issue 30 (May/June 1988). -- ISSN 07146981 -- P. 54, 56, 57, 59

Women in music : an anthology of source readings from the Middle Ages to the present. - - Edited by Carol Nuels-Bates. -- New York : Harper and Row, c1982. -- 351 p. -- ISBN 0060149922 (bd.), 0060909323 (pa.)

Women making music : studies in the social history of women musicians and composers. -- Edited by Jane Bowers and Judith Tick. -- Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1986. -- 409 p. --ISBN 0252012046

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