Female Singers:

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Female Singers:

Post by Endymion » Wed May 15, 7:36 2019

In the topic Women in history and an examination of gender norms: I wrote that according to a number of sources women are underrepresented in the music industry. For example The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism reports that on average per year over the seven years from 2012 to 2018, 21.7% of artists were women (out of 700 songs) (3.6 males to 1 female). (See here: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50838 comments dated April 22nd and April 26th.) The problem for me is that I generally prefer female singers, possibly due to having heard so many male singers throughout my life. So I would like this topic to be about female singers. To start with I have provided links to four videos on which female vocalists could be heard and I encourage others to add more.

Born in Seoul, South Korea the soprano Kathleen Kim debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 2007. In this video she portrays the role of Olympia, singing the aria "Les oiseaux dans la charmille" (The birds in the bower) aka “Olympia’s Doll Song” from Jacques Offenbach’s operetta "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" (1881), 6 minutes, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9emRjIMZsVk. I enjoy watching how her mouth moves and how her tongue flutters – such control.

The soprano Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897 in Philadelphia. According to an article at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum website (see here: https://fdrlibrary.org/anderson), “In January 1939 Howard University petitioned the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) . . . “ to allow Marian Anderson to perform at the organization’s Constitution Hall. However, “As part of the original funding arrangements for Constitution Hall, major donors had insisted that only whites could perform on stage.” In response to this in February of 1939, Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR and then worked to arrange a concert for Marian Anderson on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for Easter Sunday. Attendance at the concert numbered 75,000 and the performance was broadcast on NBC Radio – two strong women Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt. The following link does not go to a video of the Lincoln Memorial concert, but to a 5 minute long video of Marian Anderson singing Ave Maria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GksRp42s3S8.

I tend to prefer music composed prior to 1950, but there are some more modern songs that I like. Here is a link to Cyndi Lauper’s (b. 1953) music video (4 ½ minutes) to "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (1985): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A. I like the music and the lyrics (not written by Cyndi) and the way Cyndi dances down the street, as well as her singing.

Singing a cappella that is without musical instrumental backup seems to me to be a real test of how well a person or people can sing. On the other hand I feel that many modern singers, in particular male singers, would not sound very much like they were singing if not for the instrumental backup. Here is a video (3 minutes long) of four Russian women singing a cappella, in Russian. The group is called "Белое злато" (White Gold) and the song is “За тихой рекой” (Behind a quiet river). It is a Russian Folksong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANKjat2bj94. The members of the group are Daria Luneeva, Valeria Grigorieva, Maria Baranenko and Ekaterina Radygina. To me the song, despite or because I do not understand the words, is beautiful and fits very well in with their location which is a compartment in a railroad car. In the background is the sound of the moving train and I get a strong feeling of them traveling a long way behind a quiet river.


To be continued,

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