Women in Jazz Sweden
Women in Jazz is an informal initiative and network that for the past decades has organized festivals, concerts and seminars around the world. In 2015, Kultur i Väst launched a project of international cultural exchange with the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, Washington D.C. The overall purpose of the project was to encourage and support female musicians and composers in their effort to enhance gender equity on the music scene. The project consisted of two parts: one, the participation of Swedish musicians in the Washington Women in Jazz Festival; and second, the organization of the first Women in Jazz Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden.
An important aspect of the project was to inspire new ideas and forms of cooperation in new constellations of American and Swedish musicians. Thus, the musicians involved in the project were expected to participate in both the Washington and the Gothenburg festivals. On the Swedish side, an ad hoc group, Raw Sound Sweden, with six musicians, — drums, double-bass, and four saxophones — was formed. Correspondingly, the director of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, musician and composer Amy K Bormet, formed a band, Ephemera, with piano, vocals, double-bass, cello, drums, and saxophone.
International Cultural Exchange
Part one of the project was initiated in March 2015, when Raw Sound Sweden participated in the Washington Women in Jazz Festival. On the International Women’s Day, 8 March, the Swedish Embassy hosted a well-attended seminar on gender equality in music and an ensuing concert. Lectures by scholars from University of Gothenburg was followed by a panel discussion with contributions by American scholars and musicians. At the ensuing concert, Raw Sound Sweden and Ephemera performed. The event was organized by the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Region of Västra Götaland, in collaboration with University of Gothenburg.
Women in Jazz Festival Sweden
On 1-3 October 2015, the first Women in Jazz Festival Sweden was organized in Gothenburg, Sweden. The aim of the festival was to create an opportunity for musicians, promoters and anyone involved in the trade to meet and discuss issues of gender and equal opportunities relating to the music industry; e.g. copyrights of composers, the promoters’ situation, power structures and tradition.
Sweden’s Most Important Festival
The Women in Jazz Festival is inspired by festivals in many other countries that strive to enhance the visibility and working conditions of female jazz musicians. The somewhat overconfident subtitle, ”Sweden’s Most Important Festival”, hints at the ambition of the festival. For three days, the festival offered an extensive program of seminars and shorter musical features during the day, and of a variety of high-quality concerts in the evenings. The overall aim of the Women in Jazz Project was to highlight the contributions by female musicians in the evolvement of jazz, both by those who are active today and by those rendered invisible by the writers of history. Thus, the Festival was an attempt to challenge the inherent prejudice of claims such as “there are so few women who play jazz”. Hence, 52 eminent female musicians participated in the Festival. And there are many more.
To all musicians, lecturers, seminar participants, audiences, and collaboration partners, we wish to extend our warmest gratitude.
Contributors and Collaboration Partners to the Project
Women in Jazz Project is organized in collaboration between Kultur i Väst, Washington Women in Jazz Festival, The organization IMPRA, the Swedish Embassy in Washington D.C., and Nefertiti Jazz Club. Additional partners are The Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Gothenburg and The Cultural Affairs Committee of Västra Götalandsregionen.
Women in Jazz Festival is organized by Kultur i Väst in collaboration with Washington Women in Jazz Festival, IMPRA and Nefertiti Jazz Club. Additional partners are the Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Gothenburg, The Gerlesborg School of Fine Art, the Swedish Jazz Federation, and Spotlight Väst. The project is funded by the Swedish Arts Council, The Swedish Performing Arts Agency, STIM, and Kultur i Väst.
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