Every Friday evening I share a video of one of the musical artists that I have liked over the years. Most are women, which does not mean that I only listen to and like female artists but rather reflects something of my feminist feelings that women in music are rather under represented. In truth there are so many wonderful women performers out there I could feature a different artist several times a week.
I tend to shun those who are wildly famous unless they are so iconoclastic as to be too special to ignore like Lady Gaga
This weekend’s choice of a featured artist is Namoli Brennet. I had never heard of her prior to seeing her singing over the closing credits on a LGBT/T show regarding the pain of coming out that appeared on Current TV.
My first reaction was gee she sounds like she would have recorded on Olivia records had she been around in the 1970s. Her singing gave me the same warm and fuzzy feeling inside I get from Chris Williamson or Holly Near. Shawn Colvin and Catie Curtis also come to mind.
Imagine my surprise when I learned she is a sister, one of us who like us has had her life touched by a trans prefixed word.
Her web site is at: http://www.namolibrennet.com/fr_index.cfm
I like buying hard copies of CDs because I do not own an iPod or equivalent although I rip my CDs to a hard drive, put the original disk in a changer and burn disks for the car, which sits in the parking lot at work where summer temperatures soar. Her CDs are sort of difficult to find. Like Ani Di Franco and many folkies who have small time marketing collectives I assume she produces her own and does limited runs to sell at shows. But MP3 downloads are available on her site.
As I listened to one of her albums (Chrysanthemum) on the way to work today I was filled with sadness over the irony of how she is so in line with so many of the women who perform at the MWMF and yet that venue is closed to her because of her having a trans history.
I admire her courage in not hiding her past, her honesty and integrity. There are many of us who are talented and yet we find our art stifled because we are afraid of showing that part of our history rather than to integrate it into our art. An old adage is that to be an artist is to stand naked. But there is something else. I took some classes at the New York Art Students League. One day I attended a lecture on Titian. The lecture told us how Titian had taught people to see things a different way and how it was our job as artist to teach people to see.
By being both out and not being just about being trans while singing and creating music that is in the vernacular shared by feminist folk singers Naomli teaches feminist women, who might buy her music since it is of the genre popular among women who share a common aesthetic sense, to see how we can be women too, albeit with a slightly different history.
I really hope that you will go and buy some of this lady’s music. The genre she performs in means she can use all the support she can get. And in the process you will be touched by the music of a wonderfully sensitive artist.