International Women’s Day 2022: We Proudly Present Two Labels, Two Unique Stories, and the Mission of #BreakTheBias
We want to honour the true meaning of International Women’s Day and its theme this year of #BreakTheBias. We strive for a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination – an inclusive world where difference is valued and celebrated.
We will not celebrate this day with a selection of the amazing, kickass women across our artist roster or teams around the world – just because of the date on the calendar. Don’t be mistaken: we have an abundance of both. But where to begin, how to be complete and inclusive, and: why today? We pay special attention to our gender balance and inclusivity all year round so, we invite you to listen to the music of our artists and labels, follow our playlists, read our newsletter, website articles, and social posts across all of which we highlight and focus on our amazing female artists and offer our female staff around the world a face and a platform. Please: just watch us.
So, today, on this International Women’s Day, we instead want to tell you about two very interesting label stories – two very different initiatives, both truly unique and deserving of your attention for they are excellent ambassadors of #BreakTheBias.
LA BOÎTE À PÉPITES
La Boîte à Pépites translates more or less to “a box full of nuggets”. This French classical label is run by its artistic director, artist, and cellist Héloîse Luzzati who started La Boîte à Pépites with a very clear mission.
Did you know? Barely 4% of classical music works performed live in concert were written by women. And that is still the case today: female composers are still highly invisible and absent from the standard musical repertory learned by conservatory students, absent from those same conservatories which are nearly always carrying the name of a male composer, and worst of all, absent from concert programmes and performances. This invisibility has always been ‘explained’ by the same old argument: but were they any good? But how can we find out, if we can’t listen to their work today simply because they have not been credited, documented, registered, archived or performed? This is where La Boîte à Pépites comes in – the label wants to make a long-overdue correction through research, digging up forgotten manuscripts, studying scores, and publishing and releasing these specific works; giving recognition where it is due. Héloïse Luzzati and her team have discovered incredible music and compositions by female composers from around the world, from the Middle Age period to contemporary, from solo instrumental to chamber music and orchestral works and they literally cover all genres and formats in the history of music. The label launches officially on March 8th, 2022 – yes, International Women’s Day.
Alongside their label work, La Boîte à Pépites also produce a festival and mini-documentaries on YouTube – we warmly encourage you to discover one of their artists, Louise Farenc through one such documentary (English subtitled).
The label’s release schedule is following its route of research, the discovery of manuscripts, and studying scores – and the field of discovery is infinite. On a daily basis, they find works that have been ignored, never published, never recorded, never performed. The label is currently working on proposing a series of one-off records, containing two or three pieces of works by a single female composer. The style will range from symphonic music, chamber music, vocal music to solo piano, and much more. They also plan to devote a transverse series to each of the different styles of music across all the composers.
We feel La Boîte à Pépites’ mission is incredibly important, and not least for the history of music itself. We highly recommend watching the mini-documentary above if you have not already hit play and make sure to follow the label’s exciting plans via Instagram and YouTube.
When it comes to gender and music, hip hop doesn’t have a great reputation. Or at least: the hip hop industry. Many, many press features, books, films, expos, etc. touch on this specific issue: sexist, male-dominated, homophobic, misogynistic, and the list goes on. And while the industry’s artists, both male and female, have always reflected a large variety of experiences and personal stories, the imagery, and storytelling adapted by the industry to portray, promote and market these releases, has often shown a very one-sided or narrow-minded perspective throughout the years – one that often showed females as one-dimensional humans, frequently referred to by the same (bad) name…
Luckily in recent years, the hip hop industry has been changing and evolving – slowly. It’s not quite a healthy balanced industry just yet but there’s been enough development to remain hopeful that this may happen one day. While we don’t particularly love or encourage gender segregation in music and will always prefer the richness of a varied mix, we also understand the core fundamentals that have led to the creation of German label, 365XX – Europe’s first all-female rap label. The label’s A&R and promoter is Lina Burghausen, a well-known German hip hop expert, music journalist, DJ, as well as founder of the hip hop PR agency Mona Lina, member of Keychange, and founder of the blog 365 Fe*male MCs which has been publishing portraits of female MCs and rappers from around the world every day for more than two years now. The music industry can be a daunting and scary place for emerging young talent in general so we understand what drove hip hop-loving Lina to create a label home and safe space for female hip hop talent.
365XX was founded by Lina and [PIAS] Germany in 2020 and immediately got national media attention in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Post-pandemic, we can’t wait to get the artists finally on the road and on stages.
Recently, as part of Lina Burghausen’s participation in EMX’s Canadian Export Hip Hop & Rap Lab, the first English short documentary about 365XX was unveiled. Throughout, Lina introduces the incredible range of female hip-hop artists on the label roster. Keep up-to-date with 365XX over on their website, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
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