Following up Part I of our National Poetry Month feminist playlist, we would like to present Part II – on the very last day of April. That’s right, we’re closing out the cruelest month with a celebration of sounds by folks who look to our poets for inspiration.
These playlists are a part of our ongoing attempt to gather and give space to feminist music.
Check out the project in its entirety here: Unsweetened: A Playlist for a Feminist Future on Spotify.
“Phenomenal Woman,” Laura Mvula
Once again, Maya Angelou for the inspiration. From Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”: “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.”
“Compassion,” Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams adapted this song from her father’s poem by the same name. Flannery O’Connor mentored Miller Williams, and young Lucinda Williams grew up visiting O’Connor’s Milledgeville home – writing poems in the garden.
From the Miller Williams’ “Compassion”: “You do not know what wars are going on where spirit meets the bone.”
“Stay Gold,” First Aid Kit
Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit wrote this song with Robert Frost’s iconic poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” How do you enjoy a moment when you know it can’t last.
“Xanadu,” Olivia Newton-John
Samuel Taylor Coleridge or Kubla Khan wouldn’t know what to make of Olivia Newton-John, E.L.O., or the romantic fantasy musical, Xanadu, but what a wonderfully weird song about a cool nightclub – and the “everlasting world” it somehow represents.
“I Love My Jean,” Camera Obscura
Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell adapted this song from fellow Scots Robert Burns’ poem of the same title.
“Enivrez Vous,” Stereolab
“Enivrez-vouz” features Stereolab’s Lætitia Sadier reading the most Baudelaire poem over the most dreamy indie rock. “Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question.” Translation: Always be drunk. Therein lies everything: it’s all that matters.”
“Guantanamera,” Celia Cruz
Inspired by poet and hero of the Cuban revolution José Martí’s poem about a “sincere man,” the song has become an anthem in its native Cuba, a freedom song for American anti-war protesters, and even part of a jingle for a Swedish recycling campaign. Here, Cuban singer Celia Cruz sings “Guantanamera.”
“When Ure Heart Turns Cold,” Sonia Sanchez
Poet of the Black Arts Movement Sonia Sanchez reads a poem by Tupac Shakur.
If you like these songs, you will love the playlist.