Brighton Pride 2017 might be over but queer culture doesn't end at pride! So, we at Eyes Wide Open Cinema created a playlist that celebrates queer voices and queer classics. We've tried to make it as eclectic as possible and hope to have included some gems for you to discover (and revisit!). Here’s a bit more about some of our favourites on the list:
“Stand on The Word (Larry Levan Mix)” – Joubert Singers
This is probably my favourite mix from one of the fathers of dance music. It’s important for us to remember that Larry Levan (a black and gay innovator) helped craft the sounds we’ve heard all over top 40 the past couple of decades. He found a discarded gospel recording and chopped/screwed it over a beat that turned a gay club night into Saturday Mass. He transformed dancing at a gay club into a spiritual experience where every queer person can worship and celebrate their existence. AND the song still knocks.
“Shim el Yasmine” & “Tayef” – Mashrou’ Leila
Mashrou’ Leila are a Lebanese alternative rock band that are amassing a following for music that deals with themes of same-sex love and society (rare topics in Arabic music). In the tender ‘Shim el Yasmine’ (Smell the Jasmine), the singer laments wanting to introduce his male lover to his family but being forced to end the relationship instead. ‘Tayef’ (Ghost) deals with the story of a shuttered gay club. In the song, the band sings of Abu Nawas to remind their listener of their Arab history of same-sex love. They raise a flag of pride and revolution made from shrouds that belong to dead queer Arabs and tell those listening to stay the course and fight. Mashrou’ Leila’s music shares the experiences of non-western queer people who we often hear about and not from. It shows us the diversity of queer experiences and goes to the heart of pride. The fight is still going and we’ll stay pushing. “
“Prove It On Me” - Ma Rainey
They said I do it, ain't nobody caught me.
Sure got to prove it on me.
Went out last night with a crowd of my friends,
They must’ve been women, ‘cause I don’t like no men.
Ma Rainey, alongside other queer American blues innovators including Bessie Smith, are never given their due credit as the queer icons and envelope-pushers they were. Yes children, Ms Rainey was singing all about attraction to women in the 1920s long before Katy Perry kissed a girl. So pour yourself a glass of bourbon, lie back on your couch, and let yourself become engulfed by the queerest of the blues.
“Dyke March 2001” - Le Tigre
Who would’ve thought that a dance track made up of sampled interviews with people on a protest could be such a banger? The pop-electronica style twinned with repeated mantras from women on a dyke march gives the affective experience of being on the best protest ever. It takes me back to some of the first protests I ever attended, how bloody emotional it is to come together with friends and strangers in the name of a cause. The chants of “We recruit!” always send a shiver down my spine; the gleeful joy that comes from telling hetero society that you’re doing exactly what they feared you were.
Give it a play and let us know what your favourite songs are!