Kate Nash teaches girls how to ROCK

When Kate Nashburst onto the UK music scene in 2007 with her wry, witty out-of-lovesong, Foundations, she was very quickly lumped in with the other young female musicians who were topping the charts and making headlines at the time. Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Adele, Duffy – ‘cos they were girls, and played guitars and wrote their own songs, we were supposed to believe there was a new female music revolution happening and all those 99%-male lists in the music rags were a thing of the past… Except it didn’t really turn out that way, did it? So Kate is mad, but not just mad, she’s determined to change an industry that was puzzled by her refusal to get her kit off for the lads mags in order to shift records and one which sees just 14% of PRS (songwriter’s royalties) going to women.

Kate started talking about her own experiences as a newbie in the music biz and how women are treated in a way that, to put it mildly, is less than fair. She’s being speaking at events such as the Birds Eye View and Women of the World festivals, and on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, as well as writing in the Independent. But she’s not all talk; inspired by the legendary Kathleen Hanna talking about the rock summer schools for girls that run in Portland and NYC, she has set up the “Rock N Roll for Girls After-School Music Club”. As Kate explains,”My aim is simply to change a statistic, hopefully an attitude and to give girls encouragement, support and a decent music programme in their schools.”

The project started in the US, with Kate persuading Bebe Fashion to donate 32 guitars to her cause, which together with non profit organisation Music Unites, she delivered to underprivileged schools in Compton, Chicago and the Bronx in New York. Now she’s bringing the scheme to the UK and on March 20 it all kicks off with the After-School Club Tour. As far as I know, these are the dates for the tour:

March 2011
20 Sun – STOKE, SUGARMILL
21 Mon – NORTHAMPTON, ROADMENDER
22 Tue – NOTTINGHAMRESCUE ROOMS
24 Thu – BOURNEMOUTHOLD FIRE STATION
25 Fri – PORTSMOUTH WEDGEWOOD ROOMS
26 Sat – BRIGHTONCONCORDE 2
28 Mon – READINGSUB 89
29 Tues – BATH KOMEDIA
30 Wed – CARDIFF GLOBE

April 2011
1 Fri – YEOVIL, ORANGE BOX
2 Sat – LONDON, BUSH HALL
3 Sun – GLOUCESTER, GUILDHALL
5 Tue – LIVERPOOL, STANLEY THEATRE
6 Wed – NEWCASTLE, CLUNY
7 Thu – CARLISLE, BRICKYARD
9 Sat – DARLINGTON. INSIDE OUT
10 Sun – EDINBURGH, CABARET VOLTAIRE

Kate is doing something truly inspiring and empowering – going into schools and telling young girls how they can express themselves through music, teaching them about some female musical icons that they may not have heard of before like Joan Jett – this is how good things start. Sometimes actions do speak louder than words and it’s very cool to see at least one smart, savvy young woman who is prepared to stick her head above the parapet and make an effort to make a change. For those who are about to rock, we salute you.

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