Sisters – Gender Riot
- Gender Riots
- Sista, Sista
- Same Voices
- Alle Diese Frauen
- SSo Viele Jahre
- Grey Cats
- Play With Fire
LABEL : ECHO BEACH
DATE : August 22, 2008
FORMAT : CD / DIGITAL
CATALOGUE : Echo Beach EB066
SISTERS – GENDER RIOT
August 22, 2008
How it all began
Autumn 2001: a bunch of female Afro-German artists get together for the first time to produce a joint musical statement. The two songs, both released on the album “Lightkultur” by the “Brothers Keepers” (WEA), see the ladies tossing a big gauntlet down to all comers. Since then, Sisters Keepers have regrouped and chosen a new name: “Sisters”.
The Sisters take a two-pronged approach to their activities: as the band Sisters and the Sisters e.V. association, whose main focus is on political issues such as gender, racism, education and environmental policies. Aided by the German Centre for Political Education, the Sisters have gone around numerous schools as part of their “Afrodeutsch” tour, talking to hundreds of students along the way. They regularly perform at concerts against Nazi violence and racism and take part in platform debates (e.g. for the Aktion Mensch charity and World Youth Day). Recently, the ladies were invited by the Goethe Institute to tour Italy, an outing which was incredibly well-received. Social commitment on this level has become rare, but for the Sisters it goes without saying. The Sisters take the cliche of women just waiting to trip each other up and laugh it out of the room in unison.
Back to work, 2008:
“Nothing has changed – we are living in a man’s world,” are the first words of the Sister’s first, long-overdue album. Everyone who has encountered the Sisters in the past will be jolted and breath-taken by this stunning album. The title track, “Gender Riots”, bounces on an irresistible Top-40 style beat. Backed by a strong afrobeat drive, the Sisters arrange a few musical history milestones on their own playing field: “Ain’t no riot loud enough, ain’t no woman proud enough!” Onejiru, Mamadee, Meli, Nicole Hadfield, Tamika, Noah Sow and Namusoke are the SISTERS. They’re supported on their debut album by Angela Ordu, Tesiree Kaitesi, Sonia Singh and Lisa Cash.
In a slightly different Germany the Sisters would probably be stars by now. “For me they’re like the supertanker of girl bands,” says Matthias Arfmann (Jan Delay, Patrice, Turtle Bay Country Club), whose task it was to take the countless tastes, diverse styles, worlds of experience and approaches to working and shape an album. This seemed, says Onejiru, slightly more difficult that it turned out to actually be in the studio:
“It really wasn’t difficult to get all the different tastes together. Firstly, because each Sister was allowed to bring in their own favourite producer and their own personal style. We wanted to get diverse and interesting personalities involved, get them to work together on the project and the band. Over the past few years, while working together with the association Sisters e.V. it soon became obvious that the one thing that people appreciate is “concentrated female power”. It was always our plan to present issues and topics from the standpoint of each woman involved. Each of us wrote her own lyrics and her own reality. So it was really great to see that each session produced really harmonious results. And on the other hand, we also (finally) had the opportunity to try out things that we wouldn’t be doing in our solo projects; in other words, extend our musical horizons. Matthias Arfmann took the raw song material we sent him and selected the ones that truly gave this long-awaited album a common direction.”
- And these are the results:
– The hit “Unite”, which is a call to all girls and women in Germany to unite; the track celebrates girl power and civic disobedience.
- – Disco and R&B in En Vogue-Style – women with dignity, an homage to the pop roots of Girl Talk …fun included…
- – Hip hop in the Heidelberg Old School style – energised and very much to the point.
- – Reggae that sounds like the I-Threes sacked their boss.
- – A soul ballad dedicated to the anonymous victims of patriarchy- the so-called whores, the so-called junkies, the so-called single-mums – which gives them back their names.
- – A real tear-jerker of a love song about one of the ladies’ own mother and unknown father.
- – Naturally the title track, “Gender Riots”, was the first official single off the album.
- And these are the results:
A tough, varied diet, which shows that the Sisters are no girl group, but a supergroup of adult, independent musicians. Some of the women have already released their own highly successful solo projects to great acclaim, others are involved as vocalists with top acts such as Gentleman and Jan Delay or have written books. “They’re all band leaders and composers,” says producer Matthias Arfmann. “They’ve all done the tours in clapped-out old buses and shows on giant stages. They’re self-aware and confident women, not the mindless creations of television channels.”
And with that he provides an answer to the question of the band’s success and the Gender Riot they predict: this won’t be happening on the streets of Germany, in the passive, streamlined land of full-playback, but literally in these 48 minutes.