Cover

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Title Page

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pp. i-iii

Copyright

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pp. iv-vi

Contents

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p. vii

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FOREWORD

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pp. ix-x

Songs in Black and Lavender is an ambitious undertaking that provides the reader with an incisive and thought-provoking analysis of a musical space that has been significantly reconfigured since its emergence in the early 1970s. As has been true with all major political or social movements, the concept of “women’s...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-8

This book is about manifestations of black feminist consciousness in “women’s music,” which, as I argue here, is less a type of music than it is a site of women’s thinking about music, a context for the enactment of lesbian feminist politics and notions of community...

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1. Diary of a Mad Black Woman Festigoer

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pp. 9-31

In the typical arrival story, a familiar aspect of traditional ethnography, the anthropologist acquaints herself with persons unknown and prepares to settle in so that she can begin her “real work.” Although technically this diary does not do precisely that, my intent is that readers will find it a useful...

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2. Reconnaissance: Entering a Music Festival Scene

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pp. 32-45

Songs in Black and Lavender unites interview-based research with multisited ethnography carried out at eight different women’s music festivals held during the summers of 1992–1995 and 2003–2005. I attended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, the Gulf Coast Womyn’s Festival...

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3. After the Golden Age: Negotiating Perspective

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pp. 46-63

According to both movement founders and scholars, women’s music experienced its golden age from the early 1970s to the mid-to-late 1980s, a period that roughly coincides with the heyday of the women’s movement, 1969– 1984.1 As liberal feminism became more institutionalized...

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4. Nappy (and Deep) Roots: Streams of Musical and Political Influence

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pp. 64-77

In this chapter I address streams of musical and political influence that loom large in the genealogy of black women’s collective involvement in women’s music. In doing so, I attempt to reconcile a complex of musical styles and political influences...

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5. "Ideal Relationships": Women's Music Audiences

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pp. 78-88

In an essay about the commensurate value of musics cross-culturally, ethnomusicologist Christopher Small argues that through music making of all types, our versions of “ideal relationships” are enacted.1 In this chapter, I focus not only on what musicians

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6. Redistricting: Gay and Black Outdoors

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pp. 89-113

This chapter illustrates the type of conceptual realignment described in chapter 1 as “redistricting.” Given the persistence of a yearning on the part of many African American women for a majority-black lesbian music festival, this chapter refigures all-black events as sites for the emergence of an ideal...

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7. Legacy: Musicians of the Next Generation

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pp. 114-130

The reflections that open this chapter are voiced by members of two different generations of black women in women’s music. Tillery’s statement that she is not ready to step aside points to the longevity of some musicians in women’s music, as well as to the vibrancy of a generation...

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8. Working for the Weekend: Festival Organizers and Workers

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pp. 131-147

Denaturalizing the work involved in the production of women’s music festivals, this chapter emanates from my conversations with black lesbians about their experiences in festival organization—in other words, their roles behind the scenes as they work, often for periods as long as a year...

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9. Guys like Us: Community Membership Revisited

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pp. 148-174

In recent years, drag kinging—the opposite of drag queening in that it constitutes a performance of masculinity by women—has become a source of entertainment and debate on the women’s music festival circuit. This chapter unites an exploration of drag kinging...

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CONCLUSION

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pp. 175-178

As this book goes to press, I think of the women who contributed to this study and their candor, strategic silences, and activism in music and lesbian-feminist community formation. Black women’s involvement in women’s music—from Sweet Honey in the Rock to the Varied Voices of Black Women tour...

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DREAMGIRLS: A STAR-GAZER'S GUIDE TO MUSICIANS

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pp. 179-180

When I called a festigoer acquaintance to review the list of musicians, mostly headliners, included in this section, she replied, “Oh, yeah—those are our dreamgirls.” We spoke during the period of acclaim for director Bill Condon’s film adaptation of Michael Bennett’s play...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. 181-184

In researching this book over a period of many years, I benefited from the generosity of the musicians, festival attendees, producers, and others associated with the women’s music community. My engagement with this topic has been influenced not only by women too numerous to mention but also by women...

NOTES

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pp. 185-212

DISCOGRAPHY OF BLACK MUSICIANS IN WOMEN'S MUSIC

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pp. 213-216

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 217-228

INDEX

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pp. 229-231