top 5 songs by ladies?
wow okay this is incredibly hard, i’m gonna use it as an excuse to talk about some of my favorite female-led bands and just pick a song i really like from each one. also i’m not sure if you mean songs written by women or performed by women, so i’m only gonna list songs that are both.
in no particular order:
1. Okay, this first one is pretty different from the rest, but it’s cool so I want to mention it. I’m really into early music, and a friend of mine wants to put together a recital of music by female composers, so I’ve been looking around for stuff that’s older than Baroque and isn’t by Hildegard. The problem with early music is that a lot of it is anonymous, and lots of the known female composers have no extant music. But I did find this: A chantar m’er by Beatriz de Dia, the only piece of music written by a trobairitz (female secular composers of 12th and 13th-century Occitan) that survives with actual notation. This version is sung by Spanish soprano Montserrat Figueras.
2. I recently discovered Minneapolis-based rapper Dessa and can’t stop listening to her stuff. I’m not normally into rap but I could listen to her voice all day long, her lyrics are amazing, and she’s a great singer as well. Right now my favorite song is probably Mineshaft II, but both the albums I’ve listened to are fantastic.
3. I’ve been a huge fan of the Finnish folk band Värttinä since I was 12 or 13. This song, Emoni ennen, was written by former band member Sari Kaasinen, who started the group with her younger sister. The recorded version is from a time when the band had more singers, but in this video the three remaining singers collaborate with a women’s choir at one of their concerts.
4. Another long-time favorite of mine is The Wailin’ Jennys, a Canadian/American folk trio. The current members are Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta, and Heather Masse. I’ve seen them live a few times, they’re spectacular, and they write most of their own music (with a few traditional pieces and covers thrown in). Starlight was written by Nicky Mehta.
5. Last but not least, I also love American folk musician Gillian Welch. I still haven’t listened to much beyond her first two albums, but one of my favorite songs so far is One Morning.