Because of a Song
Because of a Song is an online archive documenting the extraordinary feminist and lesbian music that burst forth from the heart of Oakland, CA.
Produced by Holly Near, Because of a Song features over 30 hours of filmed conversation, 4 short films featuring Linda Tillery, Carolyn Brandy, Mary Watkins and Melanie DeMore, a curated resource room, a listening room of over 600 songs in 6 playlists, a captioned photo gallery of nearly 200 images, and much more.
Featuring conversations with Linda Tillery, Mary Watkins, Carolyn Brandy, Melanie DeMore, Rhiannon, Vicki Randle, Judith Casselberry, Ginny Z. Berson, Krissy Keefer, Lakota Harden, Lichi Fuentes, June Millington and Ann Hackler, Angela Wellman, Barbara Higbie, Elizabeth Seja Min, Ellen Seeling and Jean Fineberg, Sally Roesch Wagner, Peggy Berryhill, Patricia Thumas, Crys Matthews and Heather Mae, Timothy Near, Candas Barnes, and Ray Obiedo.
All conversations are offered in American Sign Language.
Images for social media sharing
(right-click to save image)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Every social change movement has a music and the women’s rights movement of the 1970s and beyond was no exception. This flowering of Women’s Music did not come simply as a search for lesbian romance and beautiful harmony, although that would have been reason enough. It exploded out of a deep-rooted need to combat homophobia and sexism and to build safe community. The performers reflected back to the audience women as real people—an honest, authentic expression of woman identification—how women saw themselves as feminists and lesbian feminists—something they had not been able to do in the mainstream music industry at that time.
In 2019 Holly Near, one of the foremothers of women’s music, began interviewing feminist and lesbian feminist musicians who made valuable contributions to what became known as Women’s Music. She narrowed the field to focus on women who worked in Oakland, California and the surrounding area.
So moved by the material, she curated a “gallery” called Because of a Song. Laid out in a website format, it now lives in cyberspace, free to all. This is the remembering of one small part of Women’s Music – a cultural eruption that burst forth from the heart of Oakland, California. As an associate producer of the website says, “Lesbian feminist music may not have been why we came to Oakland, but it is why we stayed.”
Because of A Song started out as a small project, but over time Holly, with the help of Kate Peterson and Tess Hoover, created a huge historical archive. The project was definitely about the music but the artsts involved also discussed racism, craft, heartbreak, sex, geography, disappointments, education and revolution.
Because of a Song is designed as a “gallery.” Guests to this online museum can visit The Home Room, the Photo Gallery, the Conversation Room, the Listening Room, the Reading Room and the ASL Room. And no museum would be complete without notes from the curator and a listing of credits.
The archive lives at www.becauseofasong.com.
The artists interviewed include:
Sally Roesch Wagner
June Millington & Ann Hackler
Elizabeth Seja Min
Ginny Z. Berson
Ellen Seeling & Jean Fineberg