A while back, when I first discovered the curated site Many Many Women and tweeted it, Listening to Ladies did me the courtesy of a retweet, and I was happy to discover them. Begun in June 2015, the curated music site features a daily online showcase of works by women composers, a concert series, and a weekly podcast. Composer Elisabeth Blair and singer-songwriter Krystee Wylder are the engines behind the curtains.
The heart of the Listening to Ladies website is their blogroll, an almost daily showcase of one piece of work by a woman composer. You’ll find it on their landing page and under the BLOG menu tab. While they do have an archived list of the composers featured, it seems to be a non-dynamic Excel list with no linkbacks to the original blog post of that composer. That makes this curation site a bit difficult to navigate. They seem also not to have a “search this website” widget. Thus, your only recourse for finding an artist is to scroll back through the blogroll or run a Google site search with the following syntax:
As blog posts accumulate over time, that setup will become heavy-handed. A dynamic sidebar blog archive and a tag cloud for tracking genres would do wonders for site usability, as would a search widget and an archive with linkbacks to original posts. But my hope is that all that will come. My sense is that Listening to Ladies is an ongoing project and that they are in the process of updating their work. With a few more robust website archiving techniques, the site will only get better.
I think we can expect great things from the Blair/Wilder pair and encourage you to use their site for your writing and editing soundscapes.
Photos: Elizabeth Blair and Krystee Wilder, © Listening to Ladies, accessed December 8, 2018, http://listeningtoladies.com/.
Good writing, like good editing, requires attention to verbal detail, and that takes concentration. Most of us who work with texts in one way or another spend extended hours in daily concentrated work. So much of the process of writing, rewriting, and editing is about cutting out the extraneous and going beneath the text to hear and feel the sound of the words and the logic of the ideas as they resonate internally. Cognitively, music can help with this process by creating the right tonal space for text work.
For those writers and editors who like to tune out the exterior verbal world with a soundscape of independent music, sharing listening resources is a good way to support the independent composers, musicians, and sound artists who contribute (unknowingly, indirectly) to our work. At the very least it makes the connections between independent musicians and their writerly listeners more visible.
A note about supporting independent artists
If you like a composer or performer’s work and want your money to directly support the music and the artistry, there are a few things you can do. BandCamp, SoundCloud, and the curation site MixCloud are good places to search for independent resources.* If you like what you hear, consider buying the music directly from the artist and/or making a donation. Attend shows whenever they come through your area. Share independent music resources with your friends and colleagues.
* For an interesting look at BandCamp and SoundCloud as platforms for independent musicians, see David Hesmondhalgh, Ellis Jones, and Andreas Rauh, “SoundCloud and BandCamp as Alternative Music Platforms, Social Media+Society 5, no. 4 (2019), DOI:10.1177/2056305119883429.
This page was updated on May 28, 2022.
Photo: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, © Theresa Truax-Gischler 2016.