“Now there was a time
When they used to say
That behind every great man
There had to be a great woman

But in these times of change
You know that it’s no longer true
So we’re comin’ out of the kitchen
‘Cause there’s somethin’ we forgot to say to you, we say

Sisters are doin’ it for themselves
Standin’ on their own two feet
And ringin’ on their own bells, we say
Sisters are doin’ it for themselves”    Annie Lennox

Maria Anna Mozart was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s older sister and toured with her father and her siblings throughout Europe. Achieving top billing showcasing the young Mozart’s prodigious talents.

Upon her reaching 18 years of age that stopped, women in that time just didn’t do that sort of thing. It is said that none of her compositions survived but more and more musical scholars point to some music credited to her brother Wolfgang was actually hers. Particularly three of his five violin concertos.

Lil Hardin Armstrong and Mary Lou Williams were in part responsible for the successes of the bands they drove from the piano with their brilliant compositions. A woman’s place was in the kitchen or behind a microphone or at a piano or playing a violin or flute. You know…”feminine” instruments. It was a particularly impressive act to ignore such boundaries and follow their hearts.

The long and arduous journey to equality and recognition for women who played music or wrote poetry is filled with such heartbreak and courage. It is a small redress to dedicate a month of Sundays to Women of Notes and Letters but it’s our attempt to shed light on the shadows that hid talent based on gender.

(Annie Lennox again)

“Mothers, daughters
And their daughters too
Woman to woman
We’re singin’ with you

The inferior sex, has
Got a new exterior, yeah
We got doctors
Lawyers, politicians too

Everybody take a look around
Can you see, can you see
Can you see there’s a woman
Right next to you, we say

Sisters are doin’ it for themselves
Standin’ on their own two feet
And ringin’ on their own bells
Sisters are doin’ it for themselves”

Join Andy O’ on Sunday night, March 10 from 9 p.m. to midnight on The Nightside.

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