AAU professor Pavla Jonssonová is going to launch her new book Women, Music, Creativity: from Hildegard to Cosey Fanni Tutti today at 18.30.
CAFÉ DES TAXIS – Hard music unites countrymen, townsmen, old men, young men, tall men, short men, then, there are women. Sure, black boots and red lipstick suit the reflectors, but, rarely are polished nails praised for strucking chords.
“My book deals with women finding their place on the music scene.” Pavla Jonssonová might be an AAU lecturer for 17 years, but, she has been a musician since high school. Together with 4 friends, they founded punk band Dybukk, now called Zuby Nehty (“Tooth and Nail”). As a part of the only girl group on the Czech music scene before 1989 Jonssonová saw the struggles first hand.
“Half of the people were happy that we were girls. Half of the people were confused. They didn’t understand why we wouldn’t do normal girl things. Which is to get married, have children and be at home.”
The bubble of Eastern Bloc slammed Hard music in general and Dybbuk earned extra kick for the femininity. “It was considered imperialist danger that threatened to corrupt our youth. It was a pretty tough time, especially in 1983.”
But, when the red zone dissolved and West flew in with attitude of its own, it became obvious that she-musicians struggled everywhere. “It seems to be much easier for the singers – the divas. It changes when you have a band.” Disheartened by the ongoing situation, Jonssonová found the source of strength in an unexpected place – the book itself. While the research showed grim results, the interviews she compiled spoke otherwise. The female drummers, guitarists, choirs and bass guitarists spread positivity, despite the obstacles. “They are all absolutely witty and wonderful and deep.”
Quite a few pages of the book are also given to the Punk era. The do-it-yourself spirit of 70s meant that all the band needed was to get together and just do it. Boys took over their parent’s garages, dreaming of becoming next Sex Pistols and so did the girls. “Punk was the first historical period when women would start their bands without managers.” Asking for a permission went straight against Punk’s agenda and all-girl acts The Slits, Pussy Riot or Bratmobile grabbed this anarchy by the hair. “You were supposed to jump on stage with the guitar, play 3 chords and scream whatever you wanted to express.” A good thing too since music shouldn’t be about hand that strucks the chord, but, about the tune the chord makes.
Pavla Jonssonová will introduce her book in Café Des Taxis today from 18.30 to 20.00. Part of the launch is a live jam session of Jonssonová and Eliška Kouhoutová – member of Prague punk bands Stillknox and Face Tigers.