LIMF 2015 – HerStory
You know those VH1 ‘Diva’ evenings where Celine, Mariah and the like team up to deliver an industrial strength evening of power ballads and the all-time highest of high notes?
This is way cooler than that.
For the very first time Liverpool will recognise the contribution that women have made to Liverpool music at the Liverpool International Music Festival 2015.
‘HerStory’ will unite the city’s leading female musicians including; Natalie McCool, Jennifer John (Founder, Sense of Sound and lead singer with Killerfernandez), Siobhan Maher Kennedy (ex River City People) and Jayne Casey (Big In Japan, Pink Military/Pink Industry).
Their goal? To celebrate Liverpool’s formidable female talent, reminding people that, despite the proliferation of The Beatles, women have always been at the heart of making Liverpool music great.
It’s Liverpool spoke to the event’s impresario, The Farm Lead guitarist and (probably) the coolest LIPA lecturer, Keith Mullin, to find out more about LIMF’s ‘HerStory’ event.
What can you tell us about the collaboration? How did you choose the name?
“The title came about through discussing ideas via email, normally the best way to name anything new, we needed something that everyone was happy with, but also encapsulated what the project is supposed to be about.
“There were plenty of great names, which we’ll keep for now, but the artists (Jenny, Natalie, Siobhan, and Jayne) settled on HerStory a double entendre that suggests historical context, whilst alluding to multiple narratives of the artists involved.
“It’s an honour to be asked, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be first choice to MD an all-female collaboration of this nature, working with Jennifer, Natalie, Siobhan and Jayne is an honour, and it’s turned out to be a lot of fun.
“I want this to be the best it can be, saying that though, i’m quietly confident…”
Why is a performance like this so important?
“It’s important because as a city we’ve never celebrated female achievement in this manner before, whilst many are artistically acknowledged for their individual work we’ve never celebrated the contribution made by female artists to Liverpool’s music and culture, as a musical collaboration. As opposed to something that celebrates an individual, like honouring with a lifetime achievement award.
“HerStory is a collaborative performance project designed to pay tribute to the work and lives of those involved. We laud male achievement on a regular basis however, there’s is significant work/contributions by female artists that largely goes unrecognised. But without that work Liverpool would not be the place it is, so it’s hugely worthy in that respect.
As the MD of a collaboration like this, what are the main factors that you need to take into consideration?
“The role of MD carries a multitude of responsibility on every level, however it has to be said, this is a collaboration therefore for me it’s about knowing when not to comment, as much as commenting or directing musically, as the artists involved are true collaborators musically, so that impacts upon how you work. It spreads the responsibility.
“My role is everything from, arranging meetings, rehearsals, attending all rehearsals, picking the right musicians, advising on material, assisting with ideas and arrangements, getting the project ready to perform.
“Just arranging rehearsals around people’s availability is a major achievement, and if you want the best, the best are always busy, and I want this to be the best it can be, saying that though, i’m quietly confident.
“Yaw Owusu, LIMF’s Curator and Liverpool Vision’s Kev McManus have really helped to pull this thing together. There has been some amazing work going on, maintaining momentum is important in a project like this. There’s some very talented people in the room, all different however it’s about getting the best out of those involved, to create something unique.
Could this become an annual feature of the festival, if so, how do you see it developing next year?
“I do believe is could and should run for a few years, we have four artists this year, which with time constraints and availability, reaches our limit. Unless of course there’s more time and resources allocated in the future.
“There are plenty of other strong female artists in Liverpool and it would be nice to work with them and celebrate them in the same manner over the coming years. Additionally it could evolve, for example LIMF could run a collaboration with different themes, changing the theme year upon year, celebration something unique about the city, so I see plenty of scope for interesting concepts in the future.
You have performed LIMF every year so far, what is so special about this event?
“Have we? I didn’t realise, such is my memory these days. It’s in Liverpool and we have a festival that’s unique, largely because it’s free, it’s also new and still defining itself, creating that identity, but improving year upon year.
“There’s also a nod to Larks in The Park, the iconic 80s festival that graced Sefton park, I have fond memories of LITP. I like the idea of utilising public spaces, the parks, they belong to the people so it’s good they’re used for the people in this way. I thought using Stanley Park was a fantastic idea, the moving of things around parks and iconic venues works for me. It’s all about sharing the love people!
Apart from your collaboration, what are you most looking forward to seeing at LIMF this year?
“I always look forward to the Bunnymen, Artful Dodger, Mic Lowry, I will be checking out the Summer Jam Stage, oh and Aswad, of course.
“I’m going to try and catch as much as I can to be honest, as there’s some amazing acts on this year, it’s getting more international. HerStory should be a highlight for a lot of people. Although it’s ‘just for the girls’ it will appeal to anyone with ears.
HerStory will take place on the It’s Liverpool stage on Sunday 30th August from 7.00pm.