Archaeological Museum of Piraeus:

Bare breasted girls dancing around a censer and playing the kithara, from the base of a nuptial lebes (4th century B.C), (Trachones, from the Geroulanos collection)

Note that the woman might have not been bare-breasted initially. In many cases a whiter pigment used for ribbons and clothes- probably a base for colour- can be seen fading and leaving only a faint impression. Since there are some little details in relief, the nakedness might be a draft to aid a subsequent rendering of the female anatomy in relief as well. Under close inspection the woman rather seems to be wearing a type of vest.

One day we are going to have a special about ancient women partying hard.

Pop musician Grimes attacks sexism in the industry
via @TeleMusicNews

“Canadian musician Grimes has criticised sexism and disrespect in the music industry and said she is taking a break from her career because she doesn’t want "to have to compromise my morals in order to make a living”.

Grimes, who is 25, achieved critical acclaim with her third album Visions, released last year. In a 600-word statement posted on her Tumblr account last night, Grimes wrote about her experiences of being molested and judged on her body.

She also commented on men who have patronised her professionally, writing: “I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if i did this by accident and i’m gonna flounder without them”[sic].

Grimes added that her comments weren’t aimed at all men, writing she was “sad that my desire to be treated as an equal and as a human being is interpreted as hatred of men, rather than a request to be included and respected”.

The singer posted two dictionary definitions for the words “waif” and “cute” - words that are often applied to her – suggesting they mean “homeless” and “sexually attractive”.

Grimes concluded by saying that she had “the best job in the world” but was tired of being disrepected and that she was “taking the time to overhaul everything” now that her tour and album promotional cycle was over.

Last summer RnB musician Nicki Minaj was recorded discussing a lack of respect in the industry, saying that women had to be “a beast” to be treated fairly as a musician. She said: “When I am assertive, I’m a bitch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss.”“



The International Sweethearts of Rhythm was the first integrated all-female band in the United States. During the 1940s, the 16-piece band featured some of the best female musicians of the day. Click here to view the trailer for a 1986 documentary about the Sweethearts.

Top photo: International Sweethearts of Rhythm, trombone section and part of saxophone section. Photographer unknown. Club Plantation, Culver City, CA, May, 1944.

Bottom photo: Newspaper clippings from The Louisville Defender, June 22, 1940. “Sweethearts of Rhythm”

International Sweethearts of Rhythm Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

This article by Syrian novelist Nihad Sirees includes info on “the banat ishreh — women who form intense, intimate relationships with other women and who meet in groups in order to sing, dance and socialize. The atmosphere at those soirees was rife with coquettishness, jealousy and love. Each woman would sit next to her particular friend and, in turn, would sing her a song. ….  

"I had heard of two banat ishreh who lived together, and I wanted to meet them, so I called them and set up an appointment….

”The younger woman, whom I’ll call Ahlam for her protection, was a dark-eyed beauty. I’ll call her friend Hameed — she had given herself a man’s name, one that reminded me of the burly heroes of Egyptian movies from the 1960s. Hameed had a boyish haircut and a mannish way of sitting and smoking cigarettes. She acted as if she were the husband of Ahlam, and had even purchased a hair salon in Ahlam’s name in case something bad happened and she was no longer able to take care of her.

“Hameed was also a famous wedding singer who was known all over town, and wedding halls would fill to the brim with women who had come to hear her sing — and behave — like a man. They would clamber up onstage with her as she sang to the newlyweds, dancing and writhing around her.

"I loved those two women, and began to visit them whenever I could, soaking up Hameed’s stories about the banat ishreh … . ”

Like Japan’s Takarazuka, like the cross-dressing English music hall performers … Wonderful to see an example out of Syria!  A moving article about what the war has done to music, and to these people in particular.  May there be peace.  And music, soon.


Born in Armenia in 1989, Nareh Arghamanyan began playing the piano when she was five years old.  Three years later, she began her studies with Alexander Gurgenov at the Tchaikovsky Music School for Talented Children in Yerevan.  In 2004 she was the youngest student to be admitted to the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where she studied with Heinz Medjimorec, and chamber music with Avedis Kouyoumdjian. Currently she continues her studies with Arie Vardi in Hannover and with Avedis Kouyoumdjian in Vienna. Nareh Arghamanyan is a laureate of more than 18 piano competitions including the 1st Prize at the 2008 Montreal International Music Competition, 1st Prize at the 2007 Piano Campus International Competition in Pontoise, and the 2005 Josef Dichler Piano Competition in Vienna.

(Image and biography taken from the Arts Management Group’s website)