MUSIC ACTION WOMEN COLLECTIVE
The Music Action Women Collective’s debut—a suite of powerful original compositions singularly focused on empowering women and advancing the causes of women worldwide—celebrates the millions of women working to improve their lives and their communities. We honor their resolve, courage, and audacity, and we are so proud to be able to stand in solidarity with the amazing musical minds we convened for our inaugural all-women’s social impact residency, Music Action Lab Women.
FEATURED TRACK | Breathe
Nazeni, which means “pretty” in Armenian, is a liberation song to the countless girls taught to act a certain way and accept a restricted role imposed by patriarchal structures. Nazeni is a clarion call for girls to stand up for their passions and ambitions.
The undulating tones and soothing melodies of Lullaby mimic a mother’s care for her future daughter in the womb before birth. The gentle caress of spoken truths work to prepare girls for the discrimination and hardship they will endure.
Rules Change uses a compositional metaphor and transforms exotic odd rhythms and scales of Balkan traditional music into 4/4 meter as a representation of individual freedom, attesting the power of women to rise above traditional gender roles in modern Balkan society.
Derived from the Armenian expression for “I want,” Uzumem is a universal freedom song that speaks to the innate power we all have within to follow our dreams.
Fusing contemporary classical composition technique with modern jazz improv and circus folk, Hide’s waltz theme represents the masks that many women hide behind to fit into society’s prescribed roles and expectations.
The Music Action Collective’s “What If” is a sonic exploration of global cultures that features vocals and beats from the Balkans and Caucusus, hip-hop in four languages, contemporary pop, traditional Tanzanian folk, Afro-Latin rhythms, and jazz-inspired song forms and improvisations—addressing issues of gender inequality, human rights, neocolonialism, and more.
FEATURED TRACK | What If
Overlooked is an upbeat, uplifting representation of women in society—and the courage, strength, and resolve to face the indignity of discrimination and inequity with power and grace.
What defines—and who decides—the importance of an event, a person to be erected as a monument? In this haunting jazz-inspired groove, the odd meter challenges the concepts of monuments as physical structure, cautioning the celebration of war and violence over the fragility and transience of life.
Written as a tribute to Ghanian rapper Delasi Nunana, who was refused entry to the U.S. after his selection to the Music Action Collective, New Babylon speaks to the inequities intrinsic to the nation-state system, and the inequality between the rich and developing countries, the global North and the global South.
Agua is a love song—to water. The flowing melodies of cello, flute, and vocals interweave with Latin percussion elements to consider the most precious resource on earth as if she were our mother, lover, spouse, our friend.
This traditional folk harvest song from Tanzania, arranged by the Music Action Collective, is a percussive, upbeat, uplifting celebration of people working together as community to create safe, vibrant relationships and ways of living in unity.
The melodic lines of Right Again were created in a workshop with incarcerated men in San Francisco Jail #5, as part of Giant Steps’ Music Action Lab global music residency for social change. The funky hip-hop groove centers the song’s powerful statement on the American justice system, while the rap in French and Swahili speak to the shared human experience that underlies unlawful behaviors.
This Afro-Latin composition is a living testament of the power of preserving culture and heritage while embracing modernity and change through globalization.
“Foundation” is the debut album of Giant Steps Music. Rather than focus its musical and lyrical content on a single social issue or range thereof, this suite of ten boundary-breaking compositions, infusing hip-hop, Afropop, Pakistani folk, and Brazilian rhythms with jazz, contemporary, and Arabic music eloquently speaks to the foundation that underlies the essence of social justice: human values.