Basic Folk podcast, eps. 255 – Aoife O’Donovan and Dawn Landes

Coincidentally, long-time friends Aoife O’Donovan and Dawn Landes both have new albums with strong feminist themes, so I (Cindy) wanted to interview them together and talk about WOMEN. Aoife’s album, All My Friends, is specifically centered around Carrie Chapman Catt, a prominent leader in the Suffragist Movement, and her work in the fight for the 19th Amendment. Inspired by speeches and letters, one song, “War Measure,” is even based on a letter of support from Woodrow Wilson to Chapman Catt. This album also marks the biggest project Aoife worked on with her husband Eric Jacobsen, who conducts the Orlando Philharmonic and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. And, it’s the first record she’s released since becoming a mother. Of her song “Daughters,” she says she sings “as a modern woman, not wanting to leave the fight to the daughters of our daughters.”

Dawn Landes, also a mother, has a more broad focus with her new album The Liberated Woman’s Songbook. The album features songs from the 1971 songbook of the same title to inspire second wave feminists’ women’s liberation movement and modern feminism of the 1970’s. The songs on Dawn’s album span from 1830 (“Hard is the Fortune of All Womankind”) to 1970 (“There Was a Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie” as well as “Liberation, Now!”), showcasing how women of the past expressed political activism in the struggle for gender equality.

Both Aoife and Dawn released their albums during Women’s History Month, which leads to a discussion of what that means to each of them. We also talk about gender stereotypes and, of course, all the waves of feminism. All and all, this one’s a winner.


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