Monday, November 24, 2008
The Lead: Music as Equalizer
The front page of today's New York Times contains a story from Jidda, Saudi Arabia, about an all-female band called Accolade - unprecendented in the "ultraconservative kingdom." The band's name is inspired by the above painting. (“I liked the painting because it shows a woman who is satisfied with a man,” Guitarist Dina says in the article.) While hardly a huge force of revolution in itself, the existence of such a band is encouraging and another testament to the potential of music as a force for social change.
While reading the article, I thought back on an interview I had with Ellen Allien last year, and how techno was such a powerful force in post-unification Berlin. In essence, music became the language of nationalism, and the language of liberation. Particularly on Ellen's earlier albums, one of which was entitled Berlinette, her lyrics explore such themes. She's particularly special, not only as one of few women in the male-driven DJ world, but as boss of the great label, BPitch Control.
It remains to be seen what sort of impact Accolade end up having. They're currently unsigned, according to their MySpace, but have over 37,000 plays of their first single, "Pinocchio." It reminds me of Lacuna Coil - a piano introduction that soon turns heavy, and slightly accented vocals. Nothing extraordinary, but created under pretty extraordinary circumstances.