International Women’s Day 2018

Live and broadcast musical events for IWD 2018 include:

Special Late Junction session on Radio 3: Verity Sharp with an International Women’s Day show As part of BBC Radio 3’s schedule marking International Women’s Day, Verity Sharp celebrates the female musical collective in all its forms, styles, and structures. A special Late Junction collaboration session has been assembled for the occasion, featuring members of notable performance collectives past and present. Our unique, one-off trio features: Maggie Nicols, who co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group; Verity Susman, formerly of Electrelane; and Amble Skuse, a member of the Orchestra For Females And Laptops aka OFFAL. Hear the results of this historic, improvised musical meeting, as well as a roundtable conversation between participants on the history and future of the female collective.

Also featured on the programme is music from all over the globe made by women working together. Expect to hear: folk supergroup Coven; loose sound art collective Egyptian Females Experimental Music Session; traditional Tuareg trio Les filles de Illighadad; jazz band Nérija; hip hop crew Reykjavíkurdætur; and performance art improvisers Sheer Frost Orchestra.

8 March 2018 18:30 ~ The Power of Music – FORWARD – London. Artists Using Conversation and Music for Social Change. FORWARD UK‘s Musicians Unite to End FGM project in collaboration with Black HistoryStudies is pleased to present Journalist and FORWARD Ambassador, Ade Daramy will be in conversation with Blues artist Corey Harris (Corey Harris Band), Congolese hip hop artists Nka1 and Tunde (of  Lopango Ya Banka) and UK female rapper extraordinaire – Sharna Cane.

The Royal College of Music is celebrating International Women’s Day with events, featuring compositions by female composers, plus the wonderful conductor, Holly Mathieson.

Oxford: Faculty of Music presents a special concert:

The School of Electronic Music is joining forces with Manchester based collective Queen Bees to curate a week of free events and workshops for women.

Nottingham: Join Cultural Vibrations founder Rastarella at The Maze on Thursday 8th March for her International Womens Day creative showcase.This year’s theme is #PressforProgress so on the line up you will be inspired by local creative females leading the way for other women to make their mark in the creative industry. Creative Energies performing on the night include DJ PRINCESS, LYTISHA, IAMSTARZ, AMIE CHERRY, BELLY DANCE WORLD Expect good vibes, live music & dance, spoken word, stalls plus much more.

A month-long programme of activities to mark and celebrate International Women’s Day 2018:

British Music Collection: Throughout the month of March, in support of International Women’s Day 2018, Sound and Music is showcasing incredibly talented women in music, celebrating female composers both past and present, with a different profile featured every day.

Hull: ‘Let Me Fly’ is a celebration of music and song to mark International Women’s Day, inspired by the indomitable spirit of flying heroine Amy Johnson in her home town Hull, City of Culture 2017. It will feature local renowned Yorkshire singer/songwriters Paula Ryan, Katie Spencer and Ali Bullivent.-Special guests will include Hull’s Heartsong and a live web link to India with Ranjani Mahesh singing and playing the traditional veena.

Check out Yegna: a group that supports women’s rights using music influenced by Ethiopian heritage is thriving – despite losing UK aid funding.

 9 March 2018 Women For Refugee Women’s drama group perform their songs and poetry at the Women of the World festival, 2.30pm Riverside Terrace Cafe, Royal Festival Hall, London. Show support in solidarity with the Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers:

If you missed Sunday’s Radio 3 programme A Portrait of Val Wilmer on the life of the celebrated journalist, photographer, and historian of Black music you can still catch it on iPlayer

If you know of an event you think WLMA could publicise, please get in touch!

Lots of IWD events can be found via womensgrid: a free service to help information by and about women and women’s groups to be shared between interested women and women’s groups.

If you’re in London this Saturday hope to see you on the march!

‘As a political weapon, it has helped me for 30 years defend the rights of American blacks and third-world people all over the world, to defend them with protest songs. To move the audience to make them conscious of what has been done to my people around the world.’
– Nina Simone






Val Wilmer on BBC Radio 3

Listen up! Don’t miss this BBC Radio 3 programme at 18.45 on 4th March, then available on iPlayer A Portrait of Val Wilmer documents the life of the celebrated journalist, photographer, and historian of Black music. Contributors include publisher and broadcaster Margaret Busby, percussionist Andrew Cyrille, writers Paul Gilroy and Richard Williams, Val’s co-worker at Melody Maker in 1969, and Val’s brother Clive Wilmer.

This marks the republication of Val Wilmer’s groundbreaking book, the 1977 classic As Serious As Your Life: Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution, 1957–1977, ‘the story of how a generation of revolutionary musicians established black music as the true vanguard of American culture. Placing the achievements of African-American artists in their broader political and social context … Wilmer evokes an era of extraordinary innovation and experimentation that continues to inspire musicians today.’ The book includes a chapter on women’s role that has been acknowledged as a pioneering move in gender studies.

Out on March 1st and available as paperback and ebook direct from the publisher, Serpent’s Tail. You can pre-order a copy now:

This book saved me from giving up. Even though the jazz musicians Wilmer wrote about were mostly male, their approach to music making, their passion and their activism resonated with me and showed me a way to move forward musically.’ – Viv Albertine

 We congratulate Val, valued friend of the Women’s Liberation Music Archive, on her achievements.

See more on this amazing woman and her work over 50 years, including this 1973 interview by Rosie Parker in Spare Rib:

excerpted interview of val wilmer spare-rib 17 1973

News from the Fuse: legendary Ivy Benson musicians reunion


A reminder of a great gig happening next week at the Vortex, Thursday 15 February.
Claudia Lang-Colmer, Crissy Lee  & Ann O’Dell (Ivy Benson Reunion band) come to ‘Swing the Vortex’
These legendary musicians are joined by special guest Alyson Cawley on tenor sax.
The Reunion Band played at the last two Celebrations of what would have been Ivy Benson’s 100th and 101st birthday.

Rare photo of Claudia Lang-Colmer playing electric bass in 1962
Claudia Lang-Colmer played double bass in the Ivy Benson band from 1954 and is still an in demand player in Cornwall today.
Crissy Lee joined Ivy Benson in the early 1960’s and is a renowned drummer, bandleader and teacher and has appeared on television many times.
After leaving Ivy Benson, Ann O’Dell played with Roxy Music, Blue Mink and Bryan Ferry as a piano player and arranger. She led her own band ‘Chopyn’ and has continued to play and tour with many groups.Plus Double double bass Claudia Lang-Colmer & Alison Rayner Two of the UK’s top double bass players in musical conversation. Also don’t forget that Alison’s group ARQ, return on Wednesday 21 February to Soho Pizza Express Jazz Club after their sell out show last June. We had school reunions and parties of friends coming down to this event last time and they were treated to infectious grooves, lyrical melodies, jazz with folk, rock, classical and other world music influences, at one of London’s best and friendliest jazz rooms in Soho. This is a rare London date for the group, so book your tickets here: INFO/BOOK Take a look at ARQ playing live at the Soho Pizza Express last time VIDEO


Friday 9 March The Old Church, Stoke Newington Church Street. Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day with one of the ‘world’s greatest cabaret singers’ Barb Jungr plus Solar Flares BOOK NOW



Indie women’s bands of the 80s

Great to see fab musician and friend of the WL Music Archive Stef Petticoat featured in today’s Guardian – thanks to Angie of Amy and the Angels for drawing our attention to it!

You can see more about Stef and her bands such as Amy and the Angels and Necessary Evil in WLMA at

Stef Petticoat


Support freedom of movement for musicians!

The Musician’s Union invites you to sign the Change petition to Support Free Movement for Musicians Post-Brexit:

Support Freedom of Movement for Musicians

Brexit blues? Listen to the anti-Brexit song by Rosemary Schonfeld on

Forthcoming London gigs with great women musicians

Coming up: the new season of Tomorrow the Moon V with a brilliant lineup of young and old stars! Solar Flares, Trio Cucara, Alison Rayner Quartet, Electric Landladies, the Casamir Connection and more. Info from Blow The Fuse:

‘Kicking off on Thursday 12th October at the Vortex with a band led by the BBC Young Musician of the Year Alexandra Ridout. This is her first Vortex appearance and she is already a wonderful trumpet player at the age of 18. We actually played with her Mum, sax player Leigh Etherington, who featured on the very first Blow the Fuse album in 1994. So, it’s a real generational celebration night. Plus, a wonderful trio with Louise Elliott, Deirdre Cartwright and Alison Rayner. Buy tickets online hereScroll down to see the rest of the Autumn season and next time we’ll be announcing how to get your tickets for the Christmas Party of the Year – yes the Electric Landladies are back!


Thurs 12 October Tomorrow the Moon V: The Alexandra Ridout Quintet, is led by the BBC Jazz Musician of the Year Alexandra Ridout on trumpet. They are a group of exceptional teenage musicians who are already creating waves in the jazz world. Their passion for the music and outstanding musicianship produce an incredibly mature band sound that belies their tender years. Watch on YouTube Plus Solar Flares: Latin and South African influenced tunes played by this imaginative and melodic trio. They first played together in the 1980s with the Guest Stars and in the Deirdre Cartwright Group. Their rapport is apparent and their individual sounds blend to produce an earthy, joyful delight in playing. Louise Elliott Saxophone/Flute, Deirdre Cartwright Guitar, Alison Rayner Double Bass  Doors: 8:00pm  Price: £10.00 advance/£12 on the door Vortex Jazz Club, 11 Gillett Square, London, N16 8AZ



Thursday 12 October The Vortex, N16 Tomorrow the Moon V

The Alexandra Ridout Quintet led by BBC Young Musician of the Year

+ Solar Flares with Deirdre Cartwright, Louise Elliott, Alison Rayner

Saturday 28 October Trio Cucara Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate



Friday 17 November St Mary’s Old Church, Stoke Newington N16

The Casimir Connection + Trio Cucara Josefina Cupido, Deirdre Cartwright, Alison Rayner

Alison Rayner Quintet:

Monday 20 November ARQ Appledore, Beaver Inn

Tuesday 21 November ARQ St Ives Jazz Club

Wednesday 22 November ARQ St Austell, The Bosun’s

Thursday 23 November ARQ Cambridge Jazz Festival

Friday 24 November ARQ Orpington Jazz Club


Wednesday 6 December Gaelynn Lea St Mary’s Old Church, Stoke Newington N16

Thursday 7 December ARQ London, Lauderdale Jazz

Thursday 14 December The Vortex, N16 Tomorrow the Moon V

JFrisco + Free Spirit with Deirdre Cartwright & Kathy Dyson and YOU!

Friday 15 December Electric Landladies ***Christmas Party*** Details to follow!

Blow the Fuse is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund

Let WLMA know if you have or know of gigs you want to advertise!