A new documentary film Sisters with Transistors aims to uncover the little-known role of women in early electronic music — and furthermore, “the central role of women in the history of music and society at large.”
The synopsis of the film powerfully reads:
While electronic music is often perceived as a boys club, the truth is from the very beginning women have been integral in inventing the devices, techniques and tropes that would define the shape of sound for years to come.
Music’s unsung heroines are featured in the film — Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani, and Laurie Spiegel, narrated by Laurie Anderson and directed by Lisa Rovner.
As one of the film’s subjects, Spiegel explains:
We women were especially drawn to electronic music when the possibility of a woman composing was in itself controversial. Electronics let us make music that could be heard by others without having to be taken seriously by the male-dominated establishment.
Sisters with Transistors premieres at UK’s Doc’n Roll film festival on November 14 at The Barbican Theatre. The London premiere also includes a director Q&A and a live analog tape performance by Marta Salogni.
The announcement of comes on the heels of the TIFF documentary film Underplayed, which also spotlights women in modern electronic music including Rezz, Alison Wonderland, Nervo, Tokimonsta and more.
Explore the pioneers of electronic music here.