It’s International Women’s Day again – and in 2022 we decided to collectively create a playlist of songs by women who inspire us to keep fighting for. You can check the list directly on Spotify in this link or just press play.
A few highlights from our PhD’s selection:
“Maria da Vila Matilde”, by Elza Soares
Elza Soares, an afro-Brazilian singer and songwriter, elected by BBC “world’s best singer” in 1999, was one of Brazil’s most distinctive and prolific artists. She overcame extreme poverty, the loss of two of her children and domestic violence in her early years, and still continued to record powerful songs with her unique voice. “Maria da Vila Matilde” – a song about violence against women, in which she sings that she is calling the police to arrest her abuser – was recorded in 2015, when Soares was 85 years old. Elza Soares died in 2022, at 91, still recording and performing.
“A Place Called England”, by Maggie Holland
This song, written by English singer Maggie Holland in 1999, mentions famous (and not so famous) activists in the British environmental movement. When Holland sings: “Meeta grows her scented roses right beneath the big jets’ path/Bid a fortune for her garden—Eileen turns away and laughs”, she is referring to Eileen Halliday, a Gloucestershire homeowner who refused to sell her house to Salisbury’s supermarket. Holland also mentions “the Diggers” in her lyrics, a mid-17th century group of Surrey activist, who believed that freedom from poverty, hunger and oppression could be won if the Earth were made a ‘Common Treasury for all’.
“A Berta Caceres”, by Las Amigas de Yolí
“Las Amigas de Yolí” – a music trio by Muna Maklouf, Ana G. Aupi and Mònica Guiteras – wrote this sing as a homage to Berta Cáceres, Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader who was killed in 2016 in an attempt to stop her fight for women’s rights, indigenous territories and social justice. “Como delincuentes se la llevaron durmiendo/pensando que el silencio sería otra vez el precio/ Hoy el pueblo entero clama Berta e justicia/ Rio Blanco enfurecido, la memoria sigue viva”, they sing. (“Like criminals they took her sleeping/thinking that silence would again be the price/ Today the whole people cry out for Berta and justice/ Rio Blanco enraged, the memory is still alive.”)