Over the last year, the world has seen women around the globe come together and stand up in protest in numbers never seen before. While the political and social reasons behind these movements have varied from region to region (and person to person), the underlying energy, determination, and strength that powers them is altogether inspiring.
In Central and South America, women in over a dozen countries have become a tremendous force in the fight against gender violence and femicide. In 2015, their efforts ignited the #NiUnaMenos (‘not one less,” in English) campaign of worker strikes and marches that have subsequently been repeated, including the October, 2016 Black Wednesday protests against the gang rape and murder of 16-year-old Lucia Perez that included demonstrations in 80 cities in her country, and nearly 60 more across the world.
Inspired by the collective actions of those standing up to gender-based violence and discrimination and wanting to lend support to the movement, Argentine musician Sol Pereyra wrote the song “Flores Salvajes,” which will appear on her upcoming fourth album, Prendente. In a mix of rhythmic, spoken-word style verses, and folk and electric guitar stylings, she artfully paints a picture of women “waking up” to injustice and coming together in a search for peace.
Pereyra, who spent five years as a member of acclaimed singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas’ band, launched her solo career in 2009. Since then, her albums including Bla Bla Bla and Comunmixta have gained her an international audience as well as a reputation for fusing together a wide range of musical styles from cumbia to hip hop with social and political commentary. Recorded in Mexico City with Silvano Zetina, Prendente, which comes out next month on Cosmica
Listen to “Flores Salvajes” now, and read our interview with Pereyra to learn more about about the inspirations and motivations behind her music.
She Shreds: Can you share a little about #NiUnaMenos and the issues in Argentina and abroad that inspired you to write this song?
Sol Pereyra: The issues of gender violence that women experience in Argentina aren’t isolated from what happens across Latin America and the world, there are concrete customs that make constant violence and discrimination acceptable, and at its most extreme they lead to murders, but more common is how it’s made completely acceptable to treat women as if they’re objects, where in social situations we need to be behind, submissive.
I think that in recent years, the discussion and the urgency of violent acts have taken center stage and many women feel the necessity to take action, raise awareness, reflect. We need to be strong, support each other, and work to make sure this stops happening. For me, writing this song was kind of like planting a flag for the cause, it’s intended to be a tool for other women to use in this struggle.
The song features a lot of classic fairytale imagery of women such as princesses and mermaids, along with your metaphor of flowers. Can you tell me a little about these plays on beauty, strength, and rebellion within the context of the song?
The song addresses these subjects in that we need to swallow those kinds of stories—stories of the princess needing to be saved by a man or a dragon—[but] we’re not necessarily beautiful mermaids. I treat the typical beauty narrative with irony in this song. Rebellious women are normally unsettling for people. People don’t know what to do with us. We’re a rare breed, mermaids of the sea, sky, and the earth. We are whatever we want to be.
We are our own bosses and we didn’t come here to be beautiful for anyone, nor to be approved by anyone. We are rebellious flowers and we have our beauty and strength in our hands, we resist, and the more they try to cut us down and tame us, we keep growing, each time with more strength. The movement has begun, and it’s only forward from here.
Prendente contains a lot of social commentary and critique. Where does “Flores Salvajes” fit in with it all? What do you hope the listener takes away from the album?
This album is an call to action, it’s a plea to stop being silent and indifferent while so many things are happening. I felt the strong need to speak directly on the themes that hurt me, injustice, inequality, they hurt me to the gut, but what hurts more is seeing a world that doesn’t act, but rather turns the other cheek. The album speaks about these things, but not in a pessimistic, bittersweet kind of way by any means. It’s upbeat, you can dance to it, sing. It makes you move and I believe movement is the most important. You have to liven up, there are things that need to change, we have to motivate ourselves to detach ourselves from the idea that the messed-up way of things is normal. I hope that this album wakes people up and ignites energy and positivity as we face what comes.
What guitar and amp do you play on this track?
In this song, the lead guitar was played by producer/musician Silvano Zetina, using a Fender Mustang from the 70s with a Fender amp. I tracked the rhythm guitar in a style inspired by chacarera (folkloric rhythm from Argentina) with a 60’s Gibson, a beautiful guitar that belonged to Silvano’s dad, who was the guitarist of the band “Los Siete Modernistas” in the 70s.