Rock in a hard place

All-girl Saudi band shreds guitars -- and taboos.

Published November 25, 2008 4:40PM (EST)

For some of us, our feminist awakening came in the form of a political rally, a historic election, a movie, a mother, a father. Who knows? And then, there are those of us whose eyes were opened saucer-wide by chicks making music.  June Carter Cash, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Nancy and Ann Wilson, The Go-Gos, Janet Jackson, Le Tigre, Tori Amos, Liz Phair, The Donnas, Destiny's Child, Pink. Hell, we could arguably include Billie Holliday in that list. Basically, if you came of age in the latter half of the century (and maybe before then -- if you know better, school me in the comments), you experienced women writing their own songs, on their own terms, and kicking ass while doing so.

Now The New York Times brings us word of an all-girl Saudi band made up of four college students placing one well-chosen finger in the face of oppressive tradition:

They cannot perform in public. They cannot pose for album cover photographs. Even their jam sessions are secret, for fear of offending the religious authorities in this ultraconservative kingdom.

But the members of Saudi Arabia’s first all-girl rock band, the Accolade, are clearly not afraid of taboos.

Saudis are downloading their first single, "Pinocchio," from the group's MySpace page. You can listen for yourself here. I hear "Baracuda"-era Heart with a lot of crashing cymbals and some tinkling keyboard. The song is  in English. Maybe you'll dig it; I kind of do.

Regardless, we at Broadsheet -- well, we writing this Broadsheet item -- are seriously bowled over by this kind of dedication to the rock. Because music really is a kind of freedom. And,  like my mama's daddy always warned her, it's a pretty good form of rebellion, too.



By Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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