The Role of Women in Music: Roberta De Francia our female artist of the year has her say
“…And still now, I make sacrifices in order to keep my musical dream alive…”
Roberta De Francia & Band is an original acoustic funk band combined with melodic vocals, interesting lyrics and joyful intricate harmonies/rhythm that has attracted great reviews from the media, including airplay on international radios. Behind it all is our female artist of the year 2014 Roberta De Francia, a talented musician/songwriter. She says:
Discover new music by independent female songwriters and musicians. Read their lyrics, listen to their instrumentation and arrangements. We women, have many things to say and many messages to send.
Despite equality in our modern world stumbling blocks are always around female artists, Roberta, originally from Italy recalls:
I started playing the guitar as a child in primary school and I remember very well, I was the only girl in the group.
I also remember that I was often arguing with my male classmates, not to be judged by them for my ‘wild and free spirit’, but to be seen as an open-minded person who was willing to pursue a serious music career. Many things have changed since then and I feel fortunate to be working in London without encountering any major gender issues. However even as I perform regularly and freely work within music, this does not mean that our (women) battle is over. We must remember that in some countries (in the Middle East for example) female musicians still face many restrictions, while male singers and/or bands can perform easily and freely.
However, if you think the West is different, I can tell you from my experience, it is not. It is only one side of the coin. The role of women in Western society is still pretty much relegated to that of ‘sex symbol’ and mainly to a specific genre only, such as POP.
The female musician is still very much judged on ‘her’ looks and the most successful appear to be the ones who show more overt sexual behaviour. This industry remains male-dominated.
I have had the good fortune to meet some extremely talented women in my life, who simply do not know how to express their creativity. Sometimes they don’t know how to present themselves because their appearance is not deemed ‘fashionable’ or they are made to feel inadequate because of the way women are marketed by the industry.
To my mind, the current industry might prevent many women from entering into certain artistic fields because of the way they are marketed and this discourages them from applying themselves or seeking out artistic occupations.
Women are judged more by their appearance and sexual expression than they are by their musicianship. It is rare that a female artist is appreciated for her own arrangements, writing, melody, harmony, or the lyrics of her songs. Yet, most managerial positions are still occupied by men. This means that women are still dependent largely on men in order to succeed.
It’s also true, I’m afraid, that the number of women playing an instrument is still much lower than the number of men. Fortunately, little by little this is changing.
However, we have to admit we are quite very lucky these days because finally, we can choose (to some degree) the music we like to listen to.
Personally, I feel quite lucky that I can express myself the way I want to and that I have learned how to overcome initial Judgements.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t have to fight against that.
And still now, I make sacrifices in order to keep my musical dream alive.
Women need to wake up more, in my opinion. I know sometimes and in some places, the pressure is still very high.
I feel Women should not feel the need to sell their image but focus more on their creative talent to gain success.
We, women, shouldn’t allow anyone to judge us, our nature, our wishes or our creativity on any terms but our own. Let’s try to change our habits. We can start by not believing what the media tell us or suggest for us to believe. Let’s start not listening ONLY to popular radio stations or watching TV.
People are waking up and starting to decide what music they want to listen to. This is positive! So let us continue and let’s start seeing ourselves (women) as artists, skilled and ambitious human beings, not only as sex symbols.
Discover new music by independent female songwriters and musicians. Read their lyrics, listen to their instrumentation and arrangements.
We, women, have many things to say and many messages to send.
Thank you for reading
About The Band:
Last year the band has performed at London Bridge Live Arts Festival, Mantle Art Street Festival, Coalville comes alive, Bathing Beauties Festival and many other events. The versatile and extremely talented musicians in the band include Peter Bakaja on bass, Ricardo Ruiz on sax and clarinet, Kostas Kopanaris on percussion, Patrick Hinds on lead guitar and Wally Miroshnikov on drums.
Roberta and her band are currently recording their III album by Bonafide Studio in London and with the support of the independent label Blue Beetle Records. They are also preparing a European Tour and one confirmed performance include a slot at the “Cheltenham Jazz Festival” in May 2014.
Videos of the full band :
Latest Video “Terre e Distanze” Official Music Video:
April’s Smile Live performance
Serendipity Live performance
Pitch Patch Official Music Video:
“… slightly jazzy, folksy, bluesy, quirky, and gritty selection of songs is seemingly indescribable… the mix of instrumentation and vocals created a sound unlike anything previously released from any similar artists…the album should be applauded for incorporating different styles and instrument arrangements… (Matthew Forss, “M-East-Ery Park” Album Review, Sept 2012)
“This band is always in the state of growth. They continuously reach for new heights both personally and musically bringing the best to audiences all over the world”“A cross between jazz, funk and folk, this UK band offers a light-hearted and
warm bed of music to offset the what we hear in commercial music today.
Roberta has a talent that only a handful of singers possess! Her unique pitch-bending vocal delivery is a breath of fresh air…” Senseitional, IAE MAGAZINE,
“M-East-Ery Park” Album Review, Sept 2012 “The London-based, Italian singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Roberta De Francia, is an innovative musician that melds classical, acoustic, jazz, alternative, and avant-garde musical styles into a loving concoction of blended melodies. The sometimes quirky compositions are theatrical and a little funky with acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, sax and clarinet players… Matthew Forss, “M-East-Ery Park” Album Review, Sept 2012
“Roberta De Francia’s slightly jazzy, folksy, bluesy, quirky, and gritty selection of songs is seemingly indescribable…Her mix of instrumentation and vocals created a sound unlike anything previously released from any similar artists…the album should be applauded for incorporating different styles and instrument arrangements…
Matthew Forss, “M-East-Ery Park” Album Review, Sept 2012 Prendendo un po di vitalismo frenetico a metà strada tra Otis Redding, Django Reinardt e il vulcanico James Brown nasce un progetto di ricerca e selezione accurati di linguaggi aperti e variopinti. Un tavolozza cromatica che attraverso tante fasi secondo un’ idea di fusione fra strati di musica nera e bianca, che lasciano molto spazio ad una caratterizzazione poetica dei sentimenti. Una commistione sintagmatica e vitalistica di arrangiamento e orchestrazione anglo-americana e melodie vocali di tradizione mediterranea, impreziositi empaticamente da un immaginario colorato, a metà strada tra il freak e la bohémien vié, dove esprimere i desideri più inespressi, anche in maniera teatrale, ma con una formula sempre avvincente e allegramente impertinente. C’è uno spazio per tutto nella musica di Roberta De Francia: la freschezza naturale delle curiosità artistica la sensualità malinconica del nuovo “Terre e distanze” del 2013 accompagnata da Kosmas Mylonidis al basso, Ricardo Ruiz al sassofono e al clarinetto, Kostas Kopanaris alla batteria e percussioni, che si compone di un piccolo intermezzo di flamenco iniziale, affidato alla chitarra di David Gonzales, per poi trasformarsi piccola habanera di stile e linguaggio completamente italiano, nel quale l’eleganza di Paco de Lucia incontra l’armonia sottile e raffinata in controluce di Bruno Martino, come in un caldo tramonto di fine estate. A Roberta va il merito, di ipotizzare un rinnovato rapporto della musica italiana e del debito che essa ha con il resto del mondo e viceversa; senza il bisogno di essere critica o autocommiserativa, ma semplicemente energica, genuina e ironica
Fausto Bisantis , Review 08/11/2013