Last month, Remezcla spoke with a few of the organizers behind Muchacha, an online network that formed in Santiago, Chile, to support women professionals in the country’s small but male-dominated music scene. The group came together after its co-founder, journalist Javiera Tapia Flores, invited several women to talk to her about their experiences with sexism and gender inequality in music for a series of news articles. When they decided to open a digital space in which those kinds of discussions could continue to unfold, they were met with a flood of emails from even more women in the music industry who were eager to get involved.
“That was the best proof that we needed to connect,” Tapia Flores told us in an interview.
A need to unite and trade experiences has been the driving force behind many other women’s collectives, like Muchacha, spreading across Latin America. In the #MeToo era, these collectives are only gaining visibility as the cultural moment encourages more conversations around ways to expel harassment, misogyny, gender bias, and other disparities from artistic spaces. From Chile’s internationally recognized festival organizers Ruidosa to the Argentine label Blazar, these networks are empowering women to join forces, get loud, and create the music scenes they want to see.
But the work isn’t easy, and it comes with its own set of challenges of how to approach discussions around women’s issues and feminism in music. Over the next few months, we’ll be spending time with some collectives, capturing their work and ambitions in a series of weekly features. We’ll look at how issues of gender inclusivity and women’s empowerment are unspooling in different parts of Latin America, and how women are pooling their collective power to inspire change. Below, we’ve put together a list of just some of the crews making noise in their respective scenes, and we’ll be looking for more collectives to shine a light on in the coming weeks.
If you know of a collective in Latin America that we should include, email email@example.com.
This Santiago community formed when artists like the singer-songwriter Francisca Valenzuela and the women’s collective Zancada decided to take lineups into their own hands and produce the type of festival they wanted to go to — with women at the center of the bill. The result was Ruidosa Fest, which has now morphed into a renowned concert series and discussion space that has been opening the floor up to non-binary artists and cis and trans women across Latin America.
Calling itself an “ecosystem” that circulates content about women musicians in Colombia, this collective has been linking up artists at discussion events and live shows since launching this year. Members are encouraged to share their experiences and projects via the group’s Facebook page, which is dedicated to highlighting panels and concerts organized by women who make up the collective.
Argentine women teamed up to form Blazar, a collective and label that provides an alternative for those who want to take control of the content creation and promotion of their own music. The label has created partnerships with different sectors of the music industry, and uses its digital platforms, which include a blog and social media, as a conduit to get more women discovered.
La Matria Fest
“Basta de exclusión!” That’s the tagline La Matria Fest often employs, and it gets to the heart of its goal to see more women in stages everywhere. Now, its flagship festival has become an opportunity for Chilean artists to gain exposure and perform alongside other women in music.
The women behind Maria Lando were sick of hearing the all-too-common phrase of there not being “enough” women in the music scene; they knew plenty and they knew better. So, the feminist platform based in Peru, named after the hard-working protagonist in a César Calvo song, has now made its mission to raise women musicians up and show just how many brilliant performers are making moves across the country.
Somos Mujeres Somos Hip-Hop
Hip-hop is an especially male-driven swath of the music scene, but Somos Mujeres Somos Hip-Hop has been shaking things up to ensure more raperas get the recognition they deserve. The collective’s membership stretches across Latin America, and their efforts — like a compilation album back in 2015 — are all ways to rip the mic from the dudes and hand the spotlight over to women emcees.
After encountering countless examples of sexism in Medellín’s electronic world, DJs Julianna Cuervo, Andrea Arias, and María Arango teamed up to form NÓTT, a collective that says it takes its inspiration from the brassy, badass Norse goddess it’s named after. NÓTT has banded together to encourage more women to participate in the scene through workshops, conferences, concerts, and now even boasts a podcast dedicated to surfacing new mixes and sounds from women DJs. They’re even working on a database of women producers and DJs in Latin America, an effort that aims challenge promoters who claim the region lacks qualified talent.
A band of unapologetic women combined their powers back in 2014 to make sure Guadalajara’s music scene had more women and queer people calling the shots. The group’s members, professionals with knowledge of every working part of the music industry, have since hosted some massive shows at some of Mexico’s biggest clubs, always making sure the lineup smashes barriers and includes people beyond the usual male suspects.