What’s new in and around the archive?

A page for news and to highlight new material we have uploaded to the archive.

Since launching online on May 1st, 2011, we have added a lot more photos, films, recordings and information on bands, musicians and projects, set up a press page for media reports, and been invited by the British Library to participate in their web archive programme http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ which archives sites to represent aspects of UK documentary heritage. This is great news as it will preserve the Women’s Liberation Music Archive for the future.

In addition to creating new entries, we continue to expand many others. Let us know if you can help!


June 2021:

We’re very pleased to be adding information about Scottish bands and musicians to our collection – see The Fabulamas entry, which is still being built – and more will be added during the coming months!

March 2021: 

Thanks to Blow the Fuse giving WLMA a nice plug in their vintage film show Back to the Seventies (see below), we’re delighted to have many more viewers, and grateful to the women who kindly contacted us consequently enabling us to add to our collection with new info on the bands Half the Sky, Kaos and Ginger and Spice. 

Great to see the Stepney Sisters and their news featured here in this Guardian article on International Women’s Day! 

February 2021:

Special Offer: Buy One Get One Free! The Women’s Liberation Music Archive is having its tenth birthday and to mark the anniversary we’re offering a special two-for-one deal on a compilation CD: twenty tracks by feminist musicians from the 1970s and 80s. £10 including postage and packing. All proceeds from the CD go toward the upkeep of the archive. Email us to order copies: wlmmusicarchive@gmail.com

 WLMA is happy to see new releases from women musicians who are featured in the archive:

The Stepney Sisters have released a new single from 1975 called ‘SISTERS’. This feminist band formed in Stepney in the mid-70s (pre Jam Today and Guest Stars). Their album is being released on the Alcopop Record label and will also be on digital platforms such as Spotify. There will be a feature on the Stepney Sisters in The Guardian soon. Stepney Sisters are Ruthie Smith, Noni Ardill, Caroline Gilfillan, Bennie Lees and Suzy Hogarth. Stream and share:  https://backl.ink/144796024

Maggie Nicols CD ‘Creative Contradiction: Poetry, Story, Songs and Sound’ is on the TakuRoku label – Café Oto’s new digital imprint which raises funds for artists and the venue. An 8-page feature on Maggie by Louise Gray is the cover feature in the March 2021 issue of The Wire, issue 445. https://reader.exacteditions.com/issues/91998/spread/1 Buy the magazine directly from https://www.thewire.co.uk/issues/

https://ocean.exacteditions.com/issues/91998/spread/1 and there’s an audio clip from a 2015 performance here: https://www.thewire.co.uk/audio/tracks/listen-maggie-nicols-and-joelle-leandre-live

Blow the Fuse

‘Back to the Seventies’! Blow The Fuse is showing archive films from the 1970s and early 1980s: check out their Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/blowthefuse2008  for ‘Life before the Guest Stars’ – they recently ‘discovered some amazing footage which offers a rare insight to part of the Women’s music scene from that time.’ You can view it on 25th February or subsequently, as with all their great performances, on Blow the Fuse ‘On Air’ – ‘a series of online concerts recorded exclusively by Blow the Fuse from the Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston. You can subscribe to the Blow the Fuse YouTube channel – it’s totally free to do so. And please DONATE ‘to keep supporting their shows and musicians in these turbulent times.’ All shows after initial broadcast can be viewed anytime on our You Tube channel HERE

You can already watch shows featuring Carol Grimes, Deirdre Cartwright, Liane Carroll, Annie Whitehead, The Guest Stars 1985 film, Martha & Eve plus DaDa Dandies. More live performances coming soon: ARQ (Alison Rayner Quintet), Casimir Connection, Ian Shaw, Georgia Mancio & Kate Williams, plus there will be more interviews and archive film footage. Each show is about 50-60 minutes long and goes live on Thursday evenings at 8pm

‘Back to the Seventies’ features the following bands: Jam Today 1 with Deirdre Cartwright, Alison Rayner, Terry Hunt, Josie Mitten, Angele Veltmeijer, Diana Wood, Frankie Green and featuring guest vocalist Laka Daisical. Tour de Force with Deirdre Cartwright, Bernice Cartwright, Viv Corringham and Val Lloyd. The Raincoats with Ana da Silva, Gina Birch, Vicky Aspinall and unknown drummer. Jam Today 3 with Alison Rayner, Terry Hunt, Barbara Stretch, Julia Dawkins and Jackie Crew. Also tantalising glimpses of Ruthie Smith, Angele Veltmeijer, Laka Daisical, Linda da Mango, Lindsay Cooper, Vicky Scrivener, Maggie Nichols, Rosemary Schonfeld, Jana Runnalls, Tierl Thompson and many others from a Womens Day March in the late 1970s. Please let BtF know if you recognise anyone else from this rare footage.

Check out Peggy Seeger’s 20 minute lockdown series Peggy at 5 on Sundays: as she writes, ‘every episode of this new series takes a focus track from my upcoming album First Farewell and builds the programme around a theme.  Peggy at 5 on Sundays is on YouTube and Facebook and you can download song lyrics in advance.’


September 2020

Make More Noise!

Great to see some of the musicians featured in WLMA included in this new release from Cherry Red Records: Make More Noise! Women In Independent Music UK 1977-1987!

Congratulations to Amy and the Angels, Bright Girls, Devil’s Dykes, Fabulous Dirt Sisters, Frank Chickens, Ova, The Petticoats, Spoilsports, and all the other groundbreaking women artists in this 4 CD / 90 track set exploring the work of female artists in the decade following the punk explosion.

Hardback book format includes over 14,500 words of sleeve-notes (including artist-written pieces) and introductory essay by Lucy O’Brien.

‘In the wake of punk rock and its boundary breaking, rule bending remoulding of the musical landscape, female artists in particular found themselves able to work, at last, in a more meritocratic environment. Quickly, an industry long dominated by male artists, producers, managers and Svengalis became more accessible than ever before, and countless inspired and inspirational artists poured onto stages and into recording studios throughout the UK. ‘Make More Noise’ charts a path through the cultural shift that followed.

Featuring ninety of the most remarkable female artists, all-girl bands and female-fronted groups to have recorded in the UK during the decade spanning 1977-1987, irrespective of genre and commercial success, “Make More Noise” proudly explores the breakthrough of countless pioneering women of the era. Of course, hugely successful female pop stars were nothing new in 1977, but this isn’t their story. This is the story of the everyday artist. The jobbing, gigging, working musician. The independent spirit.’

Check it out at https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/make-more-noise-women-in-independent-music-uk-1977-1987-various-artists-4cd-bookpack/



2020: check out the M page for a new video of a rocking track by Mother Superior, created during lockdown by Jackie the bass player!


WLMA went to the 50th anniversary of the first Women’s Liberation Movement Conference in Oxford with our display board and leaflets and music, to take part in the exhibition of feminist activist archival material organised to mark  the occasion. Thanks to Kathy for all her work!


September 2017:

This summer some of the women musicians featured in WLMA have given presentations at London’s Lesbian History Group, talking about the politics of feminist music-making and their experiences in the bands they were in. Ova’s Rosemary Schonfeld’s talk can be heard here: https://lesbianhistorygroup.wordpress.com/talks/ and an edited transcript can be read here: Lesbian History Group Talk

Rosemary has composed an anti-Brexit song, based on an old English folk song: Tea With The Devil – it can be heard on https://youtu.be/0UHj9sqtBDI

Sign the Change petition to Support Free Movement for Musicians Post-Brexit: http://chn.ge/2xAIPeX


Summer, 2017. We add bits and pieces as we go along – our current fave is the Mother Superior vid just in – rocking lead guitar and powerful music-making! Scroll down to their entry on the ‘M’ page.

We also hugely enjoyed Val Wilmer’s recent talk at Cafe Oto: http://www.londonjazznews.com/2017/07/report-val-wilmer-wire-salon-at-cafe-oto.html

Listen to it here: https://www.thewire.co.uk/audio/in-conversation/the-wire-salon-an-audience-with-val-wilmer


November 2016: The band Mother Superior has a great new website, do check it out!


October 2016: Thanks to Martin Aston for consulting and interviewing us for his book, ‘Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out’ – ‘the first history of popular music’s queer pioneers’- just published by Constable.


September 2016:  Article in the Guardian on the wonderful Glasgow Women’s Library also gives WLMA a plug: ‘Glasgow Women’s Library: a treasure trove that shows how far feminism has come.’


August 2016: a contribution to debates on the ethics of archiving of feminist history from WLMA’s Administrator, published in the radical feminist journal Trouble and Strife: Whose Story is it Anyway?


July 2016: new entry – Sole Sister https://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/t/


June 2016:   lots of new posters and flyers for our entry on Amy and the Angels https://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/a-f/


March 2016: Thanks to Carolyn Skelton in Aotearoa/New Zealand for giving us a mention in her column: http://eveningreport.nz/2016/02/02/bowie-retrospective-part-3-feminism-music-an-a-that/


2015: lots more tracks from Ova uploaded


June 2015: new entry – Tapanda Re. More to come including recordings …


Spring 2015: We’re working on our Greenham songs collection.


Summer/Autumn 2014: big thanks to everyone who sends us info, helping us fill in the gaps in the online WLMA collection! E.g., recently, Sue Regan for info on Jazawaki, and Gerry Ffrench for that on Kaos. Also those of you who send us artefacts – records, songbooks, badges, etc – for our physical collection. We use some in displays, e.g. at the FLA (Feminist Libraries and Archives Network) stall at October’s Feminism in London 2014 conference, where we set up a workshop on the importance of feminist history ‘Archives and Activism: Knowing our Past – Creating our Future.’

July 2014: the WLMA collection of artefacts housed by the University of Bristol Special Collections Library, in conjunction with the Feminist Archives South, is now catalogued online. To view it, please go to http://oac.lib.bris.ac.uk/dserve/, and use reference number DM2598. Researchers, activists, students and anyone interested in the feminist music-making and politics of the WLM are welcome to access this material. Huge thanks to Archivists Hannah Lowery and Sarah Cuthill for their work in cataloguing the collection!


May/June 2014: A series of interviews with and about feminist band Ova from during the 1970s and 80s, covering many aspects of women’s music-making and politics, including one with Rosemary Schonfeld recorded for the WLMA in 2010. https://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/o/


April 2014: WLMA was invited to talk on Out in South London, Resonance Radio’s LGBT Arts Programme https://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/press/


March 2014: 

New video of the band Tour de Force, thanks to Deirdre Cartwright and Carol Stocker


February 2014:

New entry for the duo Clea and McLeod – tracks from their album, photos, sketches, reviews, memorabilia and biog


October 2013:

A personal tribute to musician, composer and activist Lindsay Cooper from her friend and musical collaborator Maggie Nicols, accompanied by a portrait from another friend, Val Wilmer: https://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/blog-posts/

A four-hour tribute to Lindsay based around an interview she recorded with Val Wilmer in 1992, interspersed with a lot of different music from her remarkable career, compiled by Matthew Watkins: http://canterburywithoutborders.blogspot.com/2013/10/episode-8.html


September 2013:

A film of the 1990 Chard Festival of Women in Music, Somerset, produced and directed by Jayne Chard of Hummingbird Films. Newly-digitised, the film features song, dance and drumming from Shikisha, jazz from the Guest Stars, the first European women’s orchestra performing a specially commissioned piece composed by Eleanor Alberga and conducted by Odaline d la Martinez, housework shanties from the Ranting Sleazos, performances at older people’s residential homes, women’s and children’s music workshops, singer-songwriter Julie Felix, the Female Intuition band, Bristol band Meet Your Feet, a drum kit duet by Crissy Lee and Sue Hewitt, a Women in Rock talkback panel discussion … and more! See the festival on Facebook too.


July/August 2013:

New entry for Bristol band Meet Your Feet – photos, film, recordings and info


June 2013:

Newly-donated photos by Diane Hudson of women dancing to the music of singer-songwriter Susan Straightarrow at the 1974 national WLM conference in Edinburgh


May 2013: 

The Pre-Madonnas performing three songs – ‘March of the Women (Ethel Smyth)/Nana Was a Suffragette’, ‘Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida’ and ‘I Feel Like Going On’ – at the memorial event for the socialist and feminist Labour M.P. Jo Richardson (1923 – 1994) held on April 27th, 1994, at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster.


March 2013:

Two new items from the 1980s women’s scene in Newcastle – the band Burning Brass and long-standing lesbian musical event Rock ‘n’ Doris

New entry: Jo Richler


January 2013: 

Filmed oral histories uploaded from the Music & Liberation project. Check out Jam Today 3, the Fabulous Dirt Sisters, Maggie Nicols and the York Street Band

New entry! Photographs, reviews, flyers and programs tracing the career timeline of Terri Quaye during the 1970s and 1980s


December 2012:

New entry! Peggy Seeger

A short entry for Pinkspots who were a spin-off from Clapperclaw, November’s recent addition


Nov 2012:

Brand new entry on socialist feminist group Clapperclaw. The entry includes written reflections, photos, fliers and four Youtube videos where you can savour the chaotic energy of the band.


The writer Janine Bullman has kindly shared with us her 2009 cover story on The Slits from music magazine ‘Loud and Quiet’, which she thinks may contain the last interview with Ari Up. 


March 2012:

Live recording and artwork of Ova performing at the Vrouwen Festival in Amsterdam. Check it out in the entry for Ova.

New entry! Info and photos of Birmingham’s Fabulous Jam Tarts

New entry! Four tracks recorded in the 80s by Manchester’s Bad Habits plus song lists


January 2012:

Wwork begins on writing the entry for the groundbreaking Northern Women’s Liberation Rock Band and in February photos, song lyrics and the band’s manifesto are added – plus information about the subsequent bands The Bad Habits and Five Famous Women


December 2011:

NEW entry for Josefina Cupido ~ info, photos and a track from her CD ‘One Woman One Drum’

Photos of Rock Against Sexism material from Lucy Whitman’s personal archive, as displayed during her presentation at Rachael House’s 2011 Fine Arts M.A. show, ‘Feminist Disco.’

The lost 80s feminist classic album In Queer Street from Brighton’s Siren Theatre Group


November 2011:

NEW entries ~ information about Maggie Nicols and some of the bands ~ Canaille, Cats Cradle, Contradictions, Feminist improvising Group, and No Rules OK ~ festivals ~ such as 1982’s Women Live ~ and other projects such as the London Musicians Collective ~she has been involved in


October 2011:

New audio and audio-visual uploaded on The Fabulous DIrt Sisters‘ page – live performances in Harrogate (1986) and Manchester (no date), a practice/ improvisation session and a crackle-free Flapping Out in its entirety!

New memorabilia from Pearl Divers ~ with more promised ~ watch this space!

Items from Jan Ponsford’s scrapbook are being added to her entry, plus more about 1982’s Women Live Jazz Festival in London/Early Evening Jazz at the Drill Hall


29 August 2011:

A brand new entry focusing on the work of Women Live in Edinburgh has been written by volunteers at the Glasgow Women’s Library. Check it out here.


11 August 2011:

Three new recordings of the York Street Band have been donated to the archive. Listen to ‘Wilkommen’, ‘Mi Lord’ and ‘Queen of the Gypsies’ here.


May 2011:

Lucy Toothpaste/Whitman interviewed by Cazz Blase for the F-Word ~ see the link in Lucy’s entry


Don’t forget to check out our EVENTS page for gigs and happenings related to the archive

N.B. Due to the wide availability of information on social media we discontinued this page, but we’re happy to pass the word if you have an event you’d like us to publicise.


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