Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country

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( 8 valoraciones por Goodreads )
 
9780810888340: Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country

In 1942, drummer Viola Smith sent shock waves through the jazz world by claiming in Down Beat magazine that “hep girls” could sit in on any jam session and hold their own. In Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country, Angela Smith takes Viola at her word, offering a comprehensive look at the world of professional drumming and the women who had the courage and chops to break the barriers of this all-too-male field. Combining archival research with personal interviews of more than fifty female drummers representing more than eight decades in music history, Smith paints a vivid picture of their struggles to overcome discrimination—not only as professional musicians but in other parts of their lives. Women Drummers outlines the evolution of female drumming from pre-biblical times when women held important leadership roles to their silencing by the church during the Middle Ages to spearheading the fight for women’s rights in the modern era. The stories and personal accounts of female drummers who bucked tradition and societal norms are told against the backdrop of the times in which they performed and the genres they represented, from rock and jazz to blues and country.

Although women have proven time and time again that they can more than hold their own against their male counterparts, female drummers not only remain a minority, but their contributions have been obscured by the traditional chauvinistic attitudes in the music business and gender stereotypes that surround the drum itself as a “male” instrument. Women Drummers takes a major step forward in undoing this misconception by acknowledging the talent, contribution, and growing power of women drummers in today’s music environment.

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About the Author:

Angela Smith is a freelance writer and executive director emeritus of the Writers’ League of Texas. Also a working musician and music journalist, she is the author of Steel Drums and Steelbands: A History (Scarecrow Press, 2012).

Review:

Smith provides a thorough chronicle of hundreds of trail-blazing female drummers/entrepreneurs. She interviewed roughly 50 drummers over the course of several years, and in this book she presents their stories and also information she compiled on another 150 drummers and/or bands. The author focuses on North American drum set artists, as opposed to orchestral percussionists or hand-drumming specialists from non-Western cultures. A consistent thread throughout is the difficulty--the trials and setbacks--female drummers have encountered in a largely male-dominated culture (a situation that continues today). The interesting introduction provides a concise overview of women's contributions to drumming throughout history. The balance of the book is organized chronologically from the 1920s to the present. A brief appendix includes suggested recordings, video links, and other online resources, all offered as a starting point for further exploration. The book is rich with details, and the bibliography is extensive. Comprising very short biographies, this book may best serve as a reference resource. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. (CHOICE)

In ancient times, the drum was associated with women and femininity in cultures across Africa, North America, and South America. Nowadays, men dominate discussions of the best and most influential drummers, so much so that the drum is often considered an inherently masculine instrument. The women who have played drums professionally in the last hundred years have often found themselves assessed for their looks rather than their chops. By and large, music scholars have tended to overlook their accomplishments. In Women Drummers, Smith seeks to put women drummers back in the proper spotlight. She profiles over 150 women, from pioneers Viola Smith, Pauline Braddy, and Honey Lantree to contemporaries Cindy Blackman Santana, Michelle Josef, and Allison Miller. Throughout, Smith writes in an informal, conversational style. She extensively utilizes in-person and published interviews with her subjects, many of whom have a knack for memorable quips to match their timekeeping skills. The reader comes away with a real sense of these women’s passion for their chosen instrument, their philosophies of drumming, and their experiences, as expressed in their own voices. . . .Women Drummers is a welcome addition to the body of music literature. (American Reference Books Annual)

Quick! How many female drummers can you name? While the drummer position in bands everywhere is a largely male dominated thing, women have been making waves with their percussion instruments for years. This book by Angela Smith explores the world of women drummers who've broken barriers and overcome discrimination. Forget the guys, these lady drummers rock. (BELLA New York City Magazine)

The book Women Drummers: A History From Rock and Jazz To Blues and Country is fascinating reading for music fans and those who are interested in gender issues as well. Smith recounts stories that should be heard as today’s young girl drummers seek to break stereotypes and pursue their personal muses. The book is an essential work on both women’s history and the contemporary state of female percussionists in the music industry. (Wisconsin Gazette)

This comprehensive book about women drummers throughout the ages is worthy of living on university shelves worldwide. Angela Smith takes the reader from the advent of drums (BCE), to the first rebel drummers facing religious decrees, through contemporary drumming legends like Sheila E. Cindy Blackman, and Viola Smith. She tips her hat to all of the movers and shakers who have paved the way for us female drummers thus far. This book is thoughtful, thought provoking, historical, intelligent and interesting. If you like Tom Tom you will love this book because it is the very book we would have written ourselves. Buy it for your favorite drummer (if that is you more, power to you!) today. (Tom Tom Magazine)

For anyone interested in music history, this should be required reading. For everyone else, Women Drummers is just a great book that’s fun to read. The book is available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble or local booksellers in both hard cover and e-book editions. (Rope Burns)

Angela Smith’s volume is full of the compelling stories of many women who have tried their hands at the sticks, only to face institutional sexism. . . .Women Drummers has a dynamite premise and packs in tons of well-reported, resonant stories. (A.V. Club)

Overall, Smith has done an admirable job in bringing the accomplishments of women drummers to the fore. (LEO Weekly)

While this book may be of special interest to women, all drummers will appreciate the history and anecdotes relating to the instrument. (Percussive Notes)

In this comprehensive study that spans more than eight decades of music history, author Smith examines the contributions of chicks with sticks—female musicians who have dared to break through in a male-dominated area of music. Archival research and personal interviews with more than 50 female drummers paint a vibrant portrait of the pioneering artists who beat, tapped and syncopated their way into genres ranging from rock and jazz to blues and country. Read this book and forever change the way you hear the backbeat in your favorite tunes. (Booktrib)

The book is an excellent antidote to the macho stereotypes of drummers, and takes its inspiration from jazz drummer Viola Smith, who made waves in 1942 by maintaining that “hep girls” could hold their own in any jam session. The author interviewed more than fifty female drummers from rock to jazz, blues to country, whose careers have collectively spanned eight decades—including Sheila E., Debbi Peterson of The Bangles, and Lenny Kravitz’s longtime drummer Cindy Blackman. Smith also ventures back into history to explore the role of drumming in religious ceremonies and the silencing of women’s roles in the medieval church. The modern stories are often tales of taking on a chauvinistic musical establishment—no matter what the musical genre—but taken together, they prove the essential contribution female drummers have made to modern music. (Biography)

Angela Smith seems to have done her research well, and produced a lively and informative text on a subject that, in the past, has tended not to receive the attention that it should. (Bookpleasures.com)

As Angela Smith’s subtitle makes clear, this work is not restricted to jazz; far from it in fact, but this wide-ranging scope is by no means an impediment to anyone with interest in any of the musical fields covered. It will also appeal to those interested specifically in the difficult role women have in the world of popular music, a role that while easier today than it was several decades ago, is still fraught with the all-too familiar prejudices of a male-dominated business. . . .Women Drummers is an admirable work, one that is an important reference book and is also worthy of a place on the shelf of anyone interested in this fascinating corner of the world of music that hitherto has been only rarely, if ever, illuminated. (Jazz Mostly)

[H]er book, the product of Second and Third Wave feminism's 50-year run, should find a permanent place on the shelf of feminist musical studies. . . .A superb conclusion, along with an appendix (discography, online sources, and videos) and a vast bibliography, gives readers of both genders yet more material to savor. In her reappraisal of women drummers, Angela Smith reconfigures the way we listen to them in all forms of popular music, and that's feminism at it's most useful, at its best. (Popular Music & Society)

One of the main reasons I applaud Smith and this book so openly is that this book is a symbol of hope for the future. If the women highlighted in this book can persevere through the obstacles, discrimination, and stereotypes they experienced–to make music into the ways they wanted–then a future society that includes less discrimination against female musicians, and more unabashed music-making regardless of gender seems closer to reality. Angela Smith . . . clearly did a vast amount of research through methods including but not limited to interviews, e-mail correspondence, and searching to compile the biographies and information included in this book. Women Drummers would be a welcome addition to any music aficionado's bookshelf, especially for one interested in promoting a more gender-balanced society. Educators and musicians interested in expanding their knowledge of female drummers and where their stories fit into modern music history will find that Women Drummers offers both a wealth of information and a compelling read. Overall, Angela Smith has written an effective resource in Women Drummers–one that informs and inspires. (Music Educators Journal)

Women Drummers could be classified as a reference work, but it is presented as a narrative and very effectively so. It is a reference work in that it seeks to cover the most important women drummers from pre-ragtime to the present. It could be used as a tool to discover important women drummers of a specific style or era, but it is a very worthwhile read as a cohesive whole and larger story. Besides that, it is much more fun than the typical reference book, and the author of this review thoroughly enjoys reference works! Smith is a working musician specializing in steel drums, so her voice and passion come from experience in the field. This gives her writing an energetic, conversational tone that is personable, approachable, and well-crafted. . . .This work is indispensable and will be enjoyed by musicians, scholars, and also the general reader. (Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association)

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