Women will rock the house when Berklee presents a one-time gathering of influential and groundbreaking African American female musicians. Berklee's Women In Rock residency brings Nona Hendryx, Siedah Garrett, Joyce Kennedy, Cindy Blackman, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Felicia Collins to the college for performances, master classes, and panels, culminating in tonight's public concert. The artists will perform their original music at the event.
Terri Lyne Carrington, a professor of percussion, is the musical director for the concert and will play drums for all of the artists, leading a star-backing band that includes powerhouse bassist Meshell Ndegeocello (who will not sing lead) and guitarist Felicia Collins of the Late Show with David Letterman. Rounding out the band is Berklee student Cedric Hanriot on keyboards and alumnus Aurelien Budynek on guitar. Student band Shea Rose opens the concert.
Women in Rock is the brainchild of Kudisan Kai, associate professor of voice, who will perform two of her songs with the band. Says Kai, "I wanted to offer the college something that was straight from my heart and experience, share my knowledge in this genre, and discuss the musical, social, economic, and political influences that made these women choose such a path. Many people don't even realize there is such a thing as a black female rocker. These women are very strong, multi-talented, and well-versed in several genres of music. I decided to showcase these women at Berklee, where they can garner respect as outstanding instrumentalists, singers, and Grammy Award-winning songwriters, and be role models for all-female musicians."
Kai is also the driving force behind a new course in Berklee's Liberal Arts Department titled Women In Rock, which opens for enrollment in the spring 2009 semester.
The Women in Rock concert is being filmed for inclusion in a documentary by Sheila Hardy, titled Nice & Rough, exposing the unknown history of black women in rock, and celebrating the complexity and courage of these daring, outrageous, sexy, soulful women who—despite what anyone thinks—choose to rock.
Learn more about the event and the artists in the news section of our website.