Review of Eileen M. Hayes. 2010. Songs in Black and Lavender: Race, Sexual Politics, and Women’s Music. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press

Burrell, Jalylah

Eileen M. Hayes’s ethnographic study of women’s music festivals includes this simple testimony from African-American, festival-circuit stalwart Mary Watkins: “A triad is a triad” (54). The pianist and composer was intervening on the tendency to tether “musical structure” to “gender identity” in appraisals of the women’s music festival circuit: a loose network of festivals that emerged in the mid-seventies (54). The festival circuit was produced by and primarily for lesbian women, many of who evinced strong feminist sensibilities. Contemporary women’s music festivals are the sites for Hayes’s escorted road trip in Songs and Black and Lavender: Race, Sexual Politics and Women’s Music.


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August 18, 2022