These girls are here to rock

WOMEN POWER

These girls are  here to rock

When one thinks of a rock band, the image that comes to mind is that of men with long hair and unkempt beards.

But of late, a number of women have been dominating the music scene, be it rock or fusion.

They feel that they are popular because they are as talented as their male counterparts. Metrolife speaks to a few women musicians who have made a name for themselves in the male-dominated field.

The four girls of ‘The Void’ are all set to bring a refreshing change in the male-dominated scene with a rare genre called ‘Raggae Rock’.

The band was formed in January. “It was a conscious effort to form an all-girls band. But the biggest challenge we face is getting our music out in the male-dominated scene.  Convincing our families to extend our ‘curfew’ to play at jams and gigs is another huge challenge,” says Rithika, the guitarist of ‘The Void’.

According to Shalini Mohan, the bassist of ‘Lagori’, the number of women instrumentalists is less.

 “There are a lot of female vocalists performing in rock bands. But very few can actually play drums, electric guitar, and other instruments. The audience has always seen men handling all the heavy music equipment. It’s high time women take over.”

Kavya Lakshminarayanan, who plays the trumpet for ‘Clown With a Frown’, says, “Women have always liked music. We too have a passion for music just like men and this can be seen on stage. It’s not a conscious movement though, it’s something that is just happening. Of course, the audience is surprised to see women rockers but it is also a welcome change.”

Many women rockers have to battle the prejudices that exist in society as Shalini points out, “I have received comments like ‘you are quite good for a girl performer’. People feel that we are only present to grab attention and make the band look pretty. Many are yet to appreciate our potential.” 

She adds, “When a man performs, he isn’t expected to look a certain way.  But women are meant to look pretty, graceful and charming. They have to dress a certain way and behave a certain way while performing. If we wear skimpy clothes, we are mocked at. But in the case of men, it is considered cool. So people should believe that I add value to the band because I’m a good performer and not because I am a woman.”

Kavya feels that the place where one performs makes a big difference. “Many a time, when there are more men in the audience, women get a negative response. Bengaluru has a great crowd, which enjoys all kinds of music. So performing here is different from performing in other cites,” she says. Though it’s perceived that women have fewer opportunities in this field, Rithika thinks otherwise.

 “We’ve had many opportunities to perform and the venues and organisers have been really encouraging and supportive. In fact, many places and people want us to perform at their venues. But we have noticed that the crowd is rather skeptical when they see us setting up on stage. However, once we begin, their expression usually ranges from confusion to shock and then love.”

For Shalini, the best part about being a woman musician is, “I get to surprise people more often than ever. People do not expect us to deliver and when we do, they are surprised. The only way to silence people is to be good at what you are doing.”

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