Project leader, ethnomusicologist Elina Seye talks about the background and themes of the World Wide Women project.
Written by Nina Öhman
The World Wide Women team presented the project publicly for the first time on November 13th 2021 in the Etnosoi! seminar ”Women, Music and the World.” At the seminar, the team members talked about their own projects and showed related video clips or played music. The presentations centered on female musicians and the crossing of different kinds of boundaries. The seminar gathered about 30 listeners into the Maijansali hall of the Central Library Oodi; their participation demonstrated the interest of the audience towards research on women’s musical life.
As a whole, the team’s presentations emphasized music’s great importance as a means of self-expression for women around the world. For many female musicians and their audiences, music is not just a “decoration” of everyday life, not just entertainment (although it can also be that), but musical activities give them a possibility for expressing a social stance, for encaging in activism and for creating visions of a better future.
The Etnosoi! seminar at Oodi Library focuses on female musicians, transcultural cooperation and crossing borders. The seminar consists of two segments with a break in between. Between spoken presentations, both live and recorded music will be heard.
The first segment of the seminar focuses on our project World Wide Women – Female Musicians Crossing Borders and Building the Future, which will be presented for the first time by its working group. Presenting the p
roject at the seminar will be postdoctoral researcher Elina Seye, musicology doctoral researcher Ying-Hsien Chen, flutist and singer Jenni Hanikka, kantele player and singer-songwriter Marjo Smolander, researcher and musician Siboné Oroza, artist Antti Nordin and researcher Nina Öhman.
Elina Seye and Marjo Smolander from the WWW team were working on their own projects in Dakar, Senegal in the spring of 2021 as they went to meet representatives of local organizations for female musicians.
It is not until recently that female musicians in Senegal have started networking to support each other and strengthen their professional skills in the male-dominated music industry. Most female musicians in Senegal work as backup singers – many do dream of a solo career, but it is hard to find musicians, a producer and other professionals that they would need to promote their solo career.
Our team finally got to meet face to face in Helsinki! We had a meeting on a few hours on the terrace of Musiikkitalo and the meeting was truly inspiring! We discussed the themes that connect our subprojects and made some plans for the future.
There are a few events coming up already this year that we are participating in, for example the Etnosoi! Seminar at Oodi Library in November and the Finnish Conference of Cultural Studies in Joensuu in the beginning of December. See you there!