An informal empowering lively workshop learning women's songs with Paula Boulton.
Lyrics provided (English)
Feminist songs, fireside chants, songs of peace and protest - where it all began
My "Feminist songs, fireside chants, songs of peace and protest" workshop has been growing year by year, sparked by a chance conversation with Gail Chester round the fire at Women in Tune in 2010.
“Someone should collect and teach our songs so we have something to sing!”
So I started the collection and began delivering workshops and have done so ever since.
There were over 70 women at the 2011 workshop. We started by sharing what they had ever fought for or protested about. What an inspiration! In that room were women and girls who had protested about an astonishing range of issues.
From peace to pensions here is that first list: anti racist, anti fascist, environmental, animal rights, health care, miners strike, steel strike, dockers strike, worker’s rights, international solidarity, palestine liberation, anti cuts, lesbian activists, anti homophobia, housing rights, travellers rights, anti nuclear power, CND, abortion rights, alternative energy, anti military, Million Women Rise, Close down Campsfield, asylum rights, support the NHS, Reclaim the Night, Anti pornography, against sex trafficking, road protestors, Right to life, student activism, tuition fees, anti war.
Women at the forefront of changing the world. There were others fighting to get rehoused, finding a refuge, standing up to employers for a better wage, refusing sexual harassment! On the world stage, locally or personally - we fight for our rights and those of others.
I have repeated this exercise at every subsequent workshop and the list keeps on growing. As does my song collection!
I have always collected songs wherever I travel. But I have a particular interest in making our women’s world audible and visible by collating and passing on songs from the world of women and the world of protest.
Songs encode our vison, tell of our struggles, celebrate our successes.
With modern technology we can pass them on, learn them and sing together when we gather.
In Germany this August at a Radical Feminist retreat, women from 5 countries sang together. In Leeds on 7th September 150 Lesbians sang the same song. In Sweden at the Kvinnorum gathering in 2018 a 6 year old girl stopped my workshop and told me she knew the song already having seen it on You Tube showing another Feminist get together earlier that year!
These songs connect us. Singing together is a great bonding experience. We literally harmonise with one another.
Keep singing! Keep creating! That’s how we keep our culture alive and pass on Herstory. Let’s take back the air waves and fill the world with our songs.
"They can forbid nearly everything,
But they can't forbid me to think,
And they can't forbid my tears to flow
And they can't shut my mouth when I sing!"
FiLiA supports Performing Arts too!
There will be an acoustic open stage performance opportunity after the song workshop on Saturday evening to give Women the opportunity to trial new work to a friendly audience. We need to make Women's culture. Poetry, music, theatre, comedy, dance all welcome. More info contact