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Prog Celebrates International Women's Day

Some of today's leading female prog musicians discuss what it means to be a woman in today's music scene...

Today is International Women's Day. Set up to commemorate the movement for women's rights around the globe. So we asked some of today's leading women in the progressive music scene from around the globe to speak out about what being a women in today's ever-changing music scene means to them.

MARJANA SEMKINA - iamthemorning (Russia)

“In our project, I co-write and co-produce music and also work as a driving force behind the band. My colleague Gleb is pretty introverted and doesn't communicate to the outside world much, so that responsibility is on me, as well. I do quite a lot outside the band, working on a few projects that are to be revealed in 2017.

All my life i've looked up to Bjork, she's always been a role model for me, with her bold approach to writing, her philosophy and strength. Kate Bush is another fantastic example of someone to view as a fantastic example of what hard work and brave decisions can bring you. I generally admire women that have strong personalities and are not afraid of being who they are.

In the recent years I am very touched by the problem of mental health and trying to do what i can to help people that are going through tough times was and remains a big inspiration for me. Our background plays a big role in what we end up doing, so what influenced my writing is the environment and life in Russia. It's not a very happy place and therefore the music we make can't be called particularly happy.

I am blessed, however, to be accepted by the prog community, because it is extremely open-minded, and I hardly ever face any negativity towards what I do, especially in connection to me being a woman. Music industry in generally tough and it takes a lot of mental strength to face daily challenges, but that's same for everyone. If something, I meet a very lovely attitude wherever I go because most prog-related events are pretty masculine and my band is seen as a welcome change to the general mood”.

(iamthemorning will be appearing at RamblinMan Fair and Summer's End festivals in the Uk this summer)

KIM SEVIOUR (United Kingdom)

“I firmly believe that both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities and I admire women that have bravely stood up for those rights such as Malala Yousafza who just wanted to ensure that everyone had the basic right of education. She is a great role model for women everywhere. There have been many women that have inspired me in the music scene such as Enya, as she creates music in her own unique style and also Lacey Sturm from the band Flyleaf, who uses her gift as a lyricist and singer along with her life experiences to spread positive messages about empowerment and self worth whilst remaining authentic to herself. I have part of her lyric from the track, Arise, tattooed on my wrist. She sang ‘Arise and be all that you dreamed’ – a fitting quote, I think, for International Women’s Day”.

(Kim Seviour is working on her debut solo album and will be appearing live at Trinity 2 at Leamington Assembly Rooms on May 27)

SIMONE DOW - VOYAGER (Australia)

"My name is Simone Dow and I'm one of the guitarists in Australian progressive metal band Voyager.

My passion for music started at a very young age, being brought up by two very musical parents. There wasn't a day that went by in my house where I wasn't surrounded by an eclectic mix of music. My dad would often play guitar and sing to me and my mum was always singing around the house as well. It came as no surprise that when I hit the age of 11, I received the invitation for a music scholarship that would end up being my high school and music education for the next 7 years of my life.

I started playing in a local metal band when I was 15 years old and haven't looked back since. The last 11 years with Voyager have been some of my most cherished memories and experiences of my life. Music is the light when there is darkness in my life. It is my best friend and allows me to express my thoughts and feelings through another outlet other than speech. The fact that we can write music and it touches fans in a way we could never have imagined is the greatest gift of all."

(Voyager are releasing their 6th album Ghost Mile on May 12th)

CAMMIE GILBERT - OCEANS OF SLUMBER (USA)

"Greetings, I am Cammie Gilbert, lead singer, of Oceans of Slumber.

As a woman in music, there is a responsibility to be true to form; whatever it may be, however, we may have defined it, we are weighted with needing to know the intricate design of ourselves and how it is reflected in what we share. I feel most fortunate that my expression found its way through music, as music is the fibre of my universe. May this month inspire creativity, confidence, and a touch of defiance! Happy International Women's Month!"

(Oceans of Slumber's album Winter is out now via Century Media Record)

JESSICA SKEINE - HEMINA (Australia)

“My name is Jessica Martin and I'm the bassist and backing vocalist of Australian progressive metal band Hemina from Sydney.

My main vocal influences are Amy Lee from Evanescence and Hayley Williams from Paramore. I love their vocal power and emotive lyrics and have always connected with their music. I'm also inspired by Simone Dow of Voyager and Amy Campbell former bassist of Toehider and have enjoyed seeing them play on numerous occasions. I was in awe the first time I saw them both play and glad to have to local female progsters to look up to.

I remember when I was in high school feeling quite intimidated by other guitarists, at that time I was the only female guitarist in my class and just starting to learn guitar and found that I felt I was quite alone musically (this was pre-YouTube days ;)) but once I hit year 11 I was lucky to be surrounded by some amazingly talented and supportive musicians. I find as a female musician it's really important to just do what feels right for you and surround yourself with people who support you”.

(Hemina are due to be joining Twelve Foot Ninja on their Australian tour this month, and are set to be playing Progpower Festival in October.)

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