This time last year we were praising the music scene for harking back to its ‘queer’ roots because of a revamp of disco and all things funky. Nowadays, LGBTQ* musicians are ruling the charts as we gradually begin to accept the sexual diversity of our species. Music has long been an important voice by the people for the people, creating awareness and gradually, acceptance. So, here are a select few of the finest tunes from artists old and new who identify as LGBTQ*, many of them using their art to address problems of identity or social acceptance.
Hercules & Love Affair with Antony Hegarty – Blind
Andy Butler of Hercules and Love Affair has long been heralded as a leader in musical expression and finding solace in art. Growing up in an abusive household, Butler found a fascination with Greek mythology and club music. Hercules and Love Affair was started as a project with a rotating cast, and in 2008, Butler collaborated with Antony Hegarty (now known as Anohni) and created this 7-minute masterpiece. The lyrics deal with growing up as a homosexual in a community that totally rejected him, but embracing freedom and reassurance when he left.
Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Body Electric
This band released their first album back in 2011, and do not identify as any specific genre, and nor do the members. Unlike many of the more modern LGBTQ* bands, disco is not the favoured genre: a transgender violin player and a queer banjo player make up this bluesy folk troupe.
Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
An iconic disco tune from Sylvester James who was known for his flamboyant appearance and genderless vocals. He was one of the forerunners in LGBTQ* in the 70s, and grew a strong following around the world. Not only did his music become renowned, but as with many similar artists, Sylvester was a campaigner against the spread of HIV/AIDS, before dying from the disease aged just 41.
Lowell – LGBT
Elizabeth Lowell Boland (AKA Lowell) dropped out of college to become a stripper and is now a musician telling the stories of her experiences and her bisexual inclinations. Released just in 2014, this is a great indie pop tune is a subtle plea for us to equate ‘L-G-B-T’ with ‘L-O-V-E’.
Fatima Yamaha – What’s a Girl to Do?
Some of you may have caught Bas Bron (AKA Seymour Bits or Fatima Yamaha) last weekend at our very own Hifi club. This particular track was released back in 2004, and Bron was supposedly confused as to where it would fit into the music scene back then – it cannot be allocated to any specific genre or style. Nonetheless, this track has survived the ebb and flow of 11 years of music, without being prodded and poked or exhausted. Appearing under this female guise reiterates Bron’s aim to disassociate genre from good music.
(Photo credits: ModularMag)