GRRL025: Fiddling, contra dance, and gender at Smith College, with Anna Levitt of Crooked

Welcome to episode 25 of Grrl on Grrl with Anna Levitt of San Diego folk band Crooked. In this episode we talk about the differences between classical violin and fiddle, gender at Anna’s alma mater Smith College and with babies, and the two different faces of her band Crooked.

Disclaimer/corrections on the portion about Smith College: During the interview we talk about how trans men are included in Smith, but it looks like that is not the case any longer. If you look at their gender inclusion policy on their site, they admit women (cis and trans), do not include trans men, and then have a complete non-answer for genderqueer and gender nonconforming individuals. This makes me pretty uncomfortable, and honestly, I’m not sure how to express my feelings on this. I’m definitely interested in how their policy will continue to evolve. What are your thoughts? Feel free to shoot me an email! I’d love to hear from you!

I got my first one-star rating on iTunes. I’m assuming it’s some sort of men’s rights activist, but who knows? If you wanna help the podcast rating out at all, please head on over to the podcast on iTunes and leave your thoughts and suggestions. I’m always excited to hear from you!

Listen

Download GRRL025 at Libsyn [43mins, ~60MB] or stream from these websites [iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | Google Play]

Show Notes

  • [2:00] Crooked – “Another Cuppa Joe”
  • [6:00] The differences between violin and fiddle
    • “A lot of people ask what the fiddle is relative to the violin.” “Oh my God, I was totally gonna ask that next!”
  • [7:30] A bit about Anna’s band Crooked
    • Everybody contributing singing, writing, and playing
    • Anna branching into writing lyrics
  • [9:20] One of Anna’s songs making it into the Crooked album (“Mama Put the Frango On“)
    • Road trip in Mozambique for a music festival
    • Mbila/Timbila – xylophone-esque
  • [12:20] Uncle Earl – Willie Taylor (Album) (Website)
  • [16:40] Training in/playing classical music and then finding where the fun was–Irish bars!

  • [18:40] Going to a women’s college

    • Gender neutral language in college policy, how the changes came about
      • “Having language that said ‘she’ and ‘her’ was really inspiring [in original college policy] but it’s a new age and we were excluding people.”
      • Being politic, consulting alumni before making changes
    • The community aspect: having regular, virtual tea parties
    • “GENDER IS DUMB.”
  • [22:30] Having a baby and having to talk about gender

    • “What is it?”

    • “I don’t want to force [gender] on a two-day old child.”
    • Baby X story by Lois Gould, a fictional short story originally published in the 1970s in Ms. Magazine
    • “Babies have a lot in common. They want to chew on things.”
  • [25:00] Rayna Gellert & Friends – Ducks on the Millpond (Website)
  • [27:20] Crooked: 1 band, 2 incarnations
    • What you hear on the record vs. live contradance band
    • Contradance – a partnered dance, originally popular in the Appalachians with a couple of revivals (including now!)
  • [30:15] San Diego Contra Dance, associated with the SD Folk Heritage
    • Gender neutral one in San Francisco, but not in San Diego
    • Learning opportunities in San Diego Contradance by playing in their community band
  • [32:00] The differences between square dancing, country line dancing, and contradance
    • Starting a “square-volution”
    • Learning in elementary school
    • Henry Ford?!?!
  • [34:15] City Heights Music School – Saturday school, non-profit
    • Anna’s involvement with them
  • [37:45] The Nields – Keys to the Kingdom (Website)

Links

Thanks

Thanks so much to Anna for inviting me into her home and picking some great artists and songs to feature in her episode!

And as always, thank you to everyone who checked in on me the last two weeks to see where the new episodes were, to Gary Hankins who tried his best to get rid of some of that electrical buzz in the recording and put the whole thing together, to Greg Guiliano of Wait Think Fast Productions for hosting costs, and to Polish for their song “Drive.”

Thanks as always to Gary Hankins who tried his best to get rid of some of that electrical buzz in the recording, and to Greg Guiliano of Wait Think Fast Productions for hosting costs.

 

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