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(Khadijatou DoynehFaye Patton and band onstage Trafalgar Sq. 8th March 2014. Photo credit, Frederique Rapier)

What’s the connection between women, music and revolution?

Voice is both physical vocal power and a metaphor for wider expression, soul signature and identity, contribution, creation, comment, analysis and dissent within the arena of public and private life. There is a political voice/authorial voice as well as the ability to speak or sing. At any given time across the world, women’s voices are not heard, or are actively suppressed and silenced. Sexual/reproductive, economic, educative, domestic, religious and social agency are all ‘voices’ that get maimed, shattered and squashed in girls and women across the world. Those voices that do rise up and escape – both to express  the original impulse – and to report the injustice of suppression, do so at enormous risk.

A woman’s voice is clearly a tool of awesome power.

As someone who sings professionally and has taught both singing and self-defence/martial arts to groups of women, I have a perspective on the power of speech and song. I have seen over and over again that moment when an individual opens the floodgates and releases her unique voice. Sometimes accompanied by tears, laughter or sheer bewilderment. It never ceases to humble and inspire me.  The first thing I teach any aspiring singer or fighter, is the same thing – how to yell – really yell, long and loud, repeatedly. It’s a vital ‘first port of call’ in boundary definition. People are amazed at the discovery that if done in a relaxed way, this is no effort, indeed, it energises and sustains. If you can yell, you can sing. Sound travelling on the breath, sustained by the body, is a magical act. Do with it what you will. Change will occur! No wonder it makes our suppressors nervous and no wonder so many women find their own power hard to handle at first.

On March 8th, I was proud to be involved again with the Million Women Rise march and rally in Trafalgar Square, London, UK. Thanks to titanic, steady hard work, both behind and in front of the scenes, this  movement is becoming, year after year, an organic phenomenon. A uniquely diverse, grassroots forum for female activism and expression from across the globe. Songs, speeches, celebration and hope, anger and outrage, dancing, drumming, reportage and courageous testimony. Information and exchange, strategy and solidarity, friendship and extended kinship. Right in the very the heart of this planet’s most imperialistic country and city. (Ironic, no?)

This movement now has its own collective ‘voice’. Let’s celebrate that voice. It’s here to stay.

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LINKS AND INFO:

Official Million Women Rise Site.

For more amazing shots of the day’s march and rally, click here. Site of official event photographer is Frederique Rapier Photography

There is a situation going on in the UK which is a national disgrace. Female asylum seekers fleeing situations of gender persecution, (including but not limited to: war/rape, female genital mutilation, and homophobic violence) only to end up incarcerated in UK detention centres. One group that does great work to support lesbian/gay asylum seekers from African countries is Movement for Justice.

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