This is pretty much one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen: New York City’s Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls provides instruction for girls aged 8-18 on how to be a kickass female rocker. Girls come from all over to learn how to play musical instruments, write songs, perform, learn about different types of music, and generally “rock out” in a way that too often eludes the fairer sex. I can only imagine the wonders that that does for their self-confidence. I know how invincible I felt the first time I let loose on the drums in front of an audience.
The camp is named after Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, a blues and rock performer / songwriter who was one of the first women to play the music that came to be known as rock n’ roll. She did “Hound Dog” with a lot more pathos and growl before Elvis swiveled his hips to it. The camp grew out of the Portland, Oregon-based program Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls, which was founded in 2000.
During the summer camp, each day consists of instrument instruction (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals, DJ/turntables), band practice, and workshops on a variety of topics, from sound engineering and songwriting to self-defense. Games and crafting activities (including making band t-shirts and buttons) are interspersed throughout the day.
Take a look at some of the bands that were formed during the 2005 Girls’ Camp: everything from Coco Chanel & The Zeppelinettes, to Hellish Relish, to The Pink Kitties. Fantastic.
There is a benefit concert in New York on January 23rd for this amazing project, headlined by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which will take the stage along with bands formed by former campers — Tiny Masters of Today, Kimya Dawson, Magnolia, Alice Smith, and Tamar-kali. It’s at the Bowery Ballroom and tickets are available here. Since it’s a fundraiser, tickets range from $50 to $250 and up.
Oh, and they have a version of Rock Camp for grown-up girls too (!!) of all levels of musical experience, a weekend program that helps to raise funds for the girls camp. Oh yes, I want to go in a huuuge, gaping, all-consuming way. That has now been officially added to my list of things that I will do before I die, and hopefully I will get to do it soon. How revolutionary.
Volcano Girls – Veruca Salt