In celebration of International Day of the Girl 2021 (11th October), WOWwill present a brand new set of WOW Sounds performances, this time showcasing a line-up of girl bands from across the world. Girl bands have a long legacy of creating genre defying music and shattering gender norms; this is a new generation of young people continuing to challenge the gender disparity and racism in the music industry.
Recent studies show how underrepresented women are in the industry: a landmark US survey reported that from 2019 to 2020, female artists fell from 22.5% to 20.2%; female songwriters decreased from 14.4% to 12.9%; and female producers declined from 5% to just 2%. The research also took a representative sample of 600 songs between 2012 and 2020, of 23 individual women credited as producers just seven were women of colour, resulting in an overall ratio of one woman of colour to every 180 male producers.
WOW Sounds is WOW’s dedicated music programme to champion such under represented artists, and features girls, women and non-binary musicians from across the world, all of whom are using their music to create social change and further the feminist movement. This International Day of the Girl curated WOW Sounds programme will celebrate and connect young women and non-binary artists around the world.
Each performance will be released as a pre-recorded exclusive short set including an introduction about the artist’s activism, and the UK acts have all been filmed at the incredible EartH Hackney.
UK acts will include DIY girl band Breakup Haircut; a new London girl band fronted by Nadia Javed from The Tuts; spoken word artists Zahra Ahmad and Rakaya Fetuga, put forward by Muslim community organisation Maslaha who seek to change and challenge the conditions that create inequalities for the Muslim community. International acts include Indonesian metal band Voice of Baceprot; Sri Lankan acoustic trio The Singing Potatoes; Roma girl band Pretty Loud from Serbia; and a girl band project Naytive Mentorship led by Australian rapper and songwriter Naomi Wenitong, who will be appearing in partnership with WOW Australia.
- Breakup Haircut formed for First Timers 2019 have been described as ‘instantly charming,’ ‘a mix of nihilism and slapstick guaranteed to put a smile on your face’ and a ‘pop punk version of the Scooby Doo gang.’ They make scuzzy and melodic punk. Their last EP ‘What did you expect? I got it off the internet!’ was full of delicious basslines and angsty vocals.
- Half Pakistani, half Indian Nadia Javed is a self taught guitarist. She writes songs and sings in her band The Tuts. For WOW Sounds she is pulling together a new girl band - featuring some of London’s fiercest female musicians including Christabel Williams and Ishani Jasmin. Nadia is an awesome activist - her music tackles abuse in the music industry, lack of representation of women of colour in festival line ups and #MeToo.
- Maslaha seeks to change and challenge the conditions that create inequalities for Muslim communities in areas such as education, gender, criminal justice, negative media coverage and a continued climate of Islamaphobia. Zahra Ahmad is a performance poet based in London, her writing focuses on themes including identity, mental health, friendship and navigating life as a Muslim British-Bangladeshi woman of colour. Her energetic stage presence and fierce wordplay keep you hooked to her spiralling narratives and myriad images. Rakaya Fetuga is a poet, facilitator and events producer based in London. Her work joins conversations on overlapping identities faith and culture as self-affirmation. Since winning the Roundhouse Poetry Slam, Rakaya debuted her monodrama, Unbraided, at the Roundhouse Last Word Festival 2021. Voice Of Baceprot – often abbreviated as VOB – are an Indonesian all-girl rock band formed in Garut, West Java in 2014. Consisting of three young girls, Firdda Marsya Kurnia (vocals and guitar), Widi Rahmawati (bass), and Euis Siti Aisyah (drums), the word “baceprot” from their band name comes from the Sundanese language meaning “loud”.
- The Singing Potatoes are an all-girl acoustic band in Sri Lanka. Best friends from school Harini Dias, Chinthani Senevirathne and Shenali Kirindagamage have been playing together since 2010. They follow a wide variety of genres starting from Alternate rock, Indie rock, pop, RnB to classical, jazz and many more. Their objective is to contribute positively to the Sri Lankan music industry and to write songs to support women.
- Pretty Loud is a pioneering girl band from the Roma community created in Serbia by a group of young women aged between 14-26 in the educational and artistic workshops of the GRUBB organisation. Pretty Loud is breaking moulds by creating their own unique music and speaking out for the next generation of Roma women. They proudly blend rap and hip hop with their traditional Roma music. They are passionate about putting an end to stereotypes about both Roma people and women through their powerful lyrics.
- Trinity - from Naytive Mentorship are part of the Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation (DIYDG), which is a youth-led organisation aiming to inspire, equip and inspire the next generation to take action that changes their world. Naytive Mentorship is designed and delivered by ARIA Award nominated professional singer/rapper/songwriter Naomi Wenitong. Formerly of the pop duo Shakaya and current member of the group The Last Kinection, their aim is to empower young people to share their story through song and provide a deeper level of mentorship for those who wish to embark on a professional career in music. 'Trinity' is a trio of First Nations young women formed through the Naytive mentorship project run in low socio-economic areas in Cairns, Australia.