Listen to Music

Silvia Palumbo's strong, surprising voice illuminates this CD, while guitar, drums--and zings of sound accompany her. Aprendiza de Luna was first released in Buenos Aires in 2002. Coming before the end of 2006: music by unknown women musicians in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Learn more

Joyful. This album, made by Ayo (whose name means Joy in Yoruba), features a dozen original songs that dwell on love, struggle, perseverance and hope. Her voice is light and soulful; her lyrics reflect her multi- cultural life (German, Gypsy and Nigerian, she has lived in the UK and France) Learn more

Putumayo offers Women of Africa; Women of Latin America; Women's work; Women of the World-Celtic II and Women of Spirit. The company’s commitment to helping communities in the countries where the music originates has led to the label contributing more than one million dollars to worthwhile non-profit organizations around the world.

Joanne Shenandoah’s Matriarch, is rich with Iroquois chants and songs about women. As custodians of Mother Earth, Oneida women controlled the land and all activities that placed life at risk (including war). These clan mothers nominated and deposed leaders, had the final say about marriage and divorce, and were spiritual advisors. Learn more

Word Music Institute, co-founded by Helene Browning, offers over 5,000 recordings, videos and books of traditional and contemporary world music for sale at their office, at their concerts or via mail order catalogue; labels include Nonesuch, Arhoolie, Shanachie, Green Linnet, Traditional Crossroads and Music of the World, as well as internationa labels such as Ocora, Auvidis, Long Distance, Network and Wergo. Learn more

Libana’s Borderland is a virtuoso musical journey through continents and cultures by a group of women who’ve perfected others’ language and instruments. Since 1979, Libana has been known for songs handed down via women’s traditions. Libana was a 10th century Moorish Musician and poet whose name symbolizes women’s creativity. Listen

Angelique Kidjo, Benin-born, is the most popular African female artist on the world- music scene. Her “Best Of” collection is from her five CDs between 1990 and 1998. Fluent in French, English-jazz and her country's traditional zilin vocal techniques, Kidjo often sings in her native Fon/Yoruba language, performing funk, Latin, jazz, gospel, Caribbean zouk, Congolese rumba, and Afro pop. Learn more

Spanish Susana Seivane could play the bagpipe when she was three. She is the thirteenth generation in her family to build bagpipes and her music ranges from bouncing to haunting. Besides the bagpipes, she plays drums, tambourine, djembe and darbuka. Learn more

Cuba's Omara Portuondo, the woman who stars in Buena Vista Social Club music, has been singing since the 1950’s. Her rich voice sings life’s sweet and difficult truths: “If only we could make all our dreams come true, you would love me like you did twenty years ago. How sad it is to see love slipping away…” Learn more

Portuguese Fado songs lament “fate or destiny.” In the 1800's the legendary Fadista Maria Severa, daughter of a tavern owner, committed suicide after a class-challenging love affair with an aristocratic bullfighter. Fado singers still perform in black shawls to honor her. Amalia Rodrigues, Cristina Branco, Mafalda Arnauth and Misia sing lyrics like: “I spread my wings and without fear was flown! I was to become everything I'd always wanted to be, for we are the ones who define our limits and rid ourselves of them if we wish to.”

Sweet Inspirations, Sista Monica Parker’s CD rings with powerful songs of hope and inspiration —and includes one of Paola Gianturco’s images. Broadly talented as a lead vocalist, songwriter, arranger, recording artists and CD producer, Sista Monica credits her faith--and these songs --with her survival from cancer. In “an epiphany of compassion,” she decided to share these moving gospel songs, four of which feature her lyrics. Listen

Lila Downs was nominated for the BBC “Radio 3” World Music Awards in 2007. She’s Scot and Mixtex Indian, grew up in Minnesota and Oaxaca, and studied anthropology and opera. You heard her songs in the movie, Frida. Learn more

Copper Wimmin, a trio that’s been singing together since they were twelve, weave their voices so intimately that you can barely tell one from another. Their acappella music is energetic and provocative: a hurricane of sound that can leave listeners in tears. This is music like ancient women used to sing in caves before time began. Listen

Oumou Sangare, from southern Mali, is six-feet-tall. Her throaty alto is an open affirmation of female sensuality. Her lyrics sing out against polygamy and the subjugation of women, which has irritated conservative elders but delighted her contemporaries. Her vibrant music conveys one message: “Live well and with compassion.” Listen

Andrea Echeverri spent ten years as the lead singer of the popular Colombian rock band Aterciopelados. Her solo music is full of ethereal electronica and soft, rocking lullabies. Listen

Rokia Traore’s Bowmboi uses her clarion voice plus rhythms from her native Mali to describe her homeland land: “O Mali… your teachings comfort me, Respect in adversity, Dignity in privation, Generosity and good humor….Come with me and discover the land of my ancestors.” She sings of youth and death, obligation and celebration, memory, unity and solitude. In other words, of life. Listen

Brazilian Bossa Nova singer Rosa Passos has the precise pitch and the rhythm that made Joao Gilberto famous. But the New York Times said her sound is “in many ways more agreeable to hear: sweeter, more playful, less astringent, less withdrawn.” In her album Amorosa, which was Rosa’s North American debut, it’s all about her natural, easy voice and her acoustical guitar. Learn more

Singer/songwriter Chava Alberstein, “First Lady of Israeli Song,” has captured the Israeli people’s pulse on almost 50 albums. Singing in Hebrew, English and Yiddish, she performs everything from love songs to prayerful ballads to defiant pleas against oppression. Listen

Cesária Évora, born in the Cape Verde islands west of Senegal, sang on stage in bare feet in support of the disadvantaged women and children of her country. Her mornas mix folk tunes with sadness at her islands’ slave trade history: “Walking such a long way in the darkness with my hoe on my shoulder, my feet have grown old from stumbling so often in the glow of dawn…” She passed away in 2011 but her beautiful music lives on. Learn more

France's Helene Grimaud, exceptionally talented at the piano, took her first lesson at age 9 and was already fascinated by Beethoven sonatas at 13. Now in her thirties, she is a classical piano virtuoso. An animal lover, she lives on a spacious reserve where she is licensed to keep wolves, which are her second passion. Learn more

Zap Mama’s CD, Adventures in Afropea 1, features the original instrument, the primary instrument, the most soulful instrument: the human voice. Pygmies use only body, breath and vocal chord vibration; Marie Daulne, born in the Congo/Zaire, leads five Afro and European women to sing as you’ve never heard before. It is beautiful. Learn more

Laisa Vulakoro is one of the most popular singers in Fiji. Her CD, Laisa Live in Savusavu is vintage Vude, music that combines Disco, Rock, country and Island style. Many of the tunes are original and some have never been recorded. Learn more