The women within the band: JazzCamp for Women makes North American debut in Calgary

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In 2012, there was a distressing report in Denmark that steered 80 per cent of the folks in that nation’s music business had been males.

This was not shocking to Agnete Seerup, deputy director of Jazz Denmark. She had been working within the Danish music business since 2010 and knew there was a gender imbalance in all points of the enterprise and all genres. However to have the numbers introduced in such a stark and easy method was motivating.

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“I used to be not stunned by this conclusion, however now we had it written down,” mentioned Seerup, in an interview from her dwelling in Copenhagen. “It’s not just for jazz, it’s for all genres.”

Additional evaluation of the numbers revealed a variety of obstacles in that nation that had been stopping girls from a profession in music and jazz specifically. Working circumstances had been largely unregulated, which is difficult on all musicians however notably girls. There isn’t a maternity go away for feminine musicians. On high of that, there’s unsurprisingly a whole lot of blatant sexism within the business.

“There was a prejudice that overshadowed the popularity of ladies and the non-cisgendered,” Seerup says. “Numerous girls skilled this prejudice and that may be a massive barrier to getting a profession within the music business. Additionally, there are a whole lot of boundaries (points). In Denmark, and the remainder of Europe, this can be a big downside. Working environments within the music business may be very laborious for ladies as a result of they expertise a whole lot of very uncomfortable behaviour from colleagues and in addition from venues and managers and in addition from producers, who say ‘We don’t wish to produce your data as a result of we don’t earn sufficient cash on you’ or ‘It is best to at the least take a few of your garments off’ or ‘You’re too outdated.’”

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The obstacles had been in place even earlier than girls had an opportunity to decide on music as a career or set foot in a venue as a performer. Additional evaluation confirmed there have been related prejudices within the music applications within the public colleges. It was discovered that academics had been extra more likely to encourage boys to get right into a music profession.

Jazz Denmark, a company that promotes the style within the nation and overseas, took motion in 2014. Realizing the important thing was to get women built-in into improvisational and rhythmic music early, it started JazzCamp for Women. Annually 12 to fifteen women, aged 9 to fifteen. had been introduced in for this system. Seerup turned the supervisor of the initiative in 2018. At that time, it was solely in her dwelling nation. Inside a couple of years, the camp had unfold to Sweden, Finland, Turkey, the UK and Poland.

Agnete Seerup
Agnete Seerup, deputy director of Jazz Denmark. Photograph by Malthe Ivarsson. Photograph by Malthe Folke Ivarsson /jpg

This week, the worldwide program will likely be making its Canadian debut in Calgary. Seerup and two Danish academics will likely be coming to city for the workshops, which is able to run from Nov. 24 to 26 at BuckingJam Palace. The members will likely be a bit older than their European counterparts, largely because of the variations in our training system as instrumental music is taught at a later age.

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The ball began rolling again in 2022 at Jazzhead, an annual commerce present for the jazz business held in Bremen, Germany. Lisa Buck, creative director of BuckingJam Palace, was requested to point out a trailer for her documentary Change the Tune on the present and lead a dialogue in regards to the challenges confronted by feminine jazz musicians. Seerup discovered Buck to be a kindred spirit. Buck’s documentary addressed lots of the considerations Seerup’s group had recognized. She additionally realized that Buck had based The Ostara Undertaking, an all-star feminine jazz group made up of top-tier gamers reminiscent of bassist Jodi Proznick, saxophonist Allison Au, vocalist Joanna Majoko, guitarist Jocelyn Gould, drummer Sanah Kaddoura and trumpet participant Rachel Therrien. The documentary not solely captured performances by the brand new group – Buck had them again archival footage of Judi Singh, a high Edmonton-born jazz musician who carried out from the Nineteen Fifties to the Nineteen Seventies however by no means obtained correct recognition – but in addition had the fashionable musicians sharing their very own tales in regards to the obstacles they confronted as females within the business. In North America, solely 5 per cent of the skilled musicians in jazz are feminine.

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Seerup and Buck started discussing the potential for bringing the summer season camp to Calgary. With funding from Nordic Bridges, a authorities program that connects artists and innovators from the Nordic Area with programmers and professionals from Canada, a Women in Jazz camp started to take form. The Calgary Affiliation for the Growth of Music Schooling or Cadme, a volunteer-run group, was enlisted to contact six Calgary colleges. These colleges in flip selected two college students every to take part.

Buck mentioned the statistics right here in Canada, like in Europe, present a necessity for early intervention.

“In jazz, folks are likely to play with their buddies, they play in a complete number of teams and (they) play with the folks (they) hang around with,” says Buck. “Someway we have now to create a crack that permits girls to maneuver into that tradition or, within the case of what we’re doing with Ostara, we create our personal tradition. In case you really feel there isn’t any room on the one desk, you create your individual. I believe women are very communal, to not say that boys aren’t. However it may be very intimidating should you stroll right into a room as a younger girl and you’re the solely feminine in a bunch of men, notably as adolescence settles in and folks haven’t mastered their social expertise but.”

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The Calgary members will likely be between the ages of 15 and 17. As with the European program, Individuals shouldn’t have to own experience of their devices. Musicians with various ability ranges and expertise will likely be accepted. There won’t be a showcase on the finish of the two-day workshop.

“I believe we’re searching for openness,” Buck Says. “This isn’t about mastering requirements over a pair days or essentially getting higher in your instrument; it’s about being open to the creativity of improvisation. It’s about hopefully making a group throughout town inside numerous colleges of younger girls who now know one another and know different gamers are on the market. It’s actually about openness and enthusiasm after which clearly somebody that has some facility on that instrument. However the instrument skill is much less essential than that want to wish to discover what jazz is all about, the entire nature of improvisation.”

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