IRWAG promotes girl power
IRWAG25, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender’s year-long celebration of their 25th anniversary, kicked off on Friday with Girls Rock!
Held in Avery Plaza, the concert was designed to call attention to IRWAG programming and to Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, featuring alums of the program and Columbia students who shared their spirit.
The event began with Martha Redbone, who performed traditional Cherokee and Choctaw music, accompanied by a hand drum and African rattles.
Redbone teaches workshops at the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, and lauds the program for providing a safe haven where girls can address the trials of teenagedom.
“In our society, girls are often overlooked. This offers a new generation a new way of thinking. It shows that women have a say and that people are listening,” she said about the camp.
After Redbone, Still Saffire took the stage. Alumnae of Willie Mae, Still Saffire has played Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg (but they still think Columbia is pretty cool).
Their music is catchy and definitely takes cues from punk and riot grrl, but with more wholesome lyrics of girl power, friendship, and questioning one’s place in the world. That’s not to say they don’t have edge; one of their songs was commissioned for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby, and includes lyrics like, “Gonna skate ‘til we’re black and blue.”
It’s a pretty bold statement, considering that two of the band members are fourteen years old, but the girls delivered it with enough energy to back it up.
Next up was Ajo, CC ’11, playing a mix of “pop R&B, with a little Caribbean and hip hop mixed in.” Her band was composed of Columbia seniors David Halpern, Ethan Kogan, and Nat Flack, playing bass, drums, and guitar, respectively.
Rounding out the night, Olivia Harris, CC ’14, provided two soulful covers of rock R&B Accompanied by electric guitar, her versions of the songs slowed down the tempo between Ajo and the next band, Lady Bits, which ended the evening with the riot grrl noise and bravado that many expected at this event.
For those who want to get involved, IRWAG is launching new initiatives on campus, including the Feminist Oral History Project, the Feminist Intervention Series, and Feminist to the Core, a lecture series which puts feminist thought in conversation with Core texts. IRWAG is hosting an undergraduate open house on Thursday, September 27th.
All photos by Claire Heyison.
Leave a Comment
Be nice. Don't use HTML tags. And consider reading our full comment policy.