Women Who Demand, and Command, Center Stage

Celebrating women on the edge, singing or playing their own work

The Cuban rapper Telmary Diaz cuts an unusual figure in the music world.

“It’s not common in a macho society like Cuba that you have a female rapper,” she says. “It’s always, ‘Girls go to the back to do vocals and dance.’” Make no mistake, Telmary does vocals and dances, but she’s up front. And being up front puts her on the edge.

As the award-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom showed, women’s place in music was often in the back — doing harmony vocals and dancing. But this edition of the Soundcheck Stream, called “Women On The Edge,” celebrates women who demand, and command, center stage.

Now, this is not a particularly novel idea. Ancient Chinese iconography shows that women were featured musicians in the royal courts, and once Europeans stopped castrating boys so they could grow up to sing really high notes, the world’s opera stages opened up to women. The early and mid 20th century was full of great pop and jazz singers from the distaff side as well.

But something has changed in the past few decades, and that’s what we’re hoping to illustrate with “Women On The Edge.”

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