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  • label:Piranha Records

Women’s lib? Women’s rights? Piranha Records is a real life women’s rights project through and through!


Selected by Dj Rita Ray

Piranha’s first proper recording artist was a woman – Stella Chiweshe. And not only was she a woman – she was a liberated woman! By no means the normal case as a musician in Africa at the time. Stella Chiweshe was a liberated woman not only in the political sense – after Zimbabwe became independent – but also in the musical sense: The mbira was traditionally an instrument reserved to men, but those days are gone! Thanks to women like the mbira queen from Mujumi, Mhondoro.

Of course, Stella Chiweshe was also part of Piranha’s political activities of the early days – Piranha’s maiden PIR1 record release Beat! Apartheid as well as the HeimatKlänge festival ‘2Beat! Apartheid’ in 1990, focused on the segregation still in effect in South Africa at the time and looking back at the fights for independence in Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

And to the next generation – Sister Fa! This outspoken Senegalese activist, in particular against female genital cutting, born in Dakar but living in Berlin, raises her voice as both a singer and a political icon for other social, political and personal subjects from child soldiers to Islam, AIDS to arranged marriage. She has already represented her continent at the United Nations, UNICEF, the Movies that Matter festival in Den Haag and The Power 1000 in London!

Other than the both of these great African musicians and activists Stella Chiweshe and Sister Fa –gender equality at Piranha is illustrated quite simply through the most effective means to do so: women are everywhere on the Piranha roster and in the Piranha catalogue!

From Salamat’s homage to one of the greatest singers of all time, Egypt’s legend and darling Umm Kalthoum to the Raks Sharki Series, programmed by Lorraine Zamora a.k.a. Jalilah; from Indonesian all-girl qasidah group Nasida Ria to Watcha Clan featuring singer Sista K.; from Brazil’s Anastacia Azevedo’s MPB variant to Sicilian Sonia Brex and her classically-induced lounge pop project and on to a cast of fellow females being equal part of almost every project on the roster there is – Piranha music is almost universally women’s music.

Or make that – women’s and men’s music in equal parts – the real liberation!

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