‘Her Roots’ — a musical performance series created by locally-based performers Lauren Calve and Ben Tufts — launches this weekend, February 22, with the Lauren Calve Band, Olivia Mancini & The Mates, and Laura Tsaggaris at 6 p.m. (for only $6!) as a family-friendly, musically-driven community event highlighting the diverse talent of the area’s most accomplished female artists as well as up-and-coming female musicians, as hosted by Gypsy Sally’s.
The ‘Her Roots’ series stems from Calve and Tufts’ desire to form an intentionally strong female community of musicians in the greater-D.C. area. After several months of conversations between the pair, Calve and Tufts agreed to take the concept of hosting a conventional residency and turn it up a notch by expanding the focus and aiming the spotlight on female-fronted bands.
Both Calve and Tufts have important reasons for starting ‘Her Roots.”
As a band leader, singer-songwriter, and self-professed huge fan of Paramore’s Haley Williams, Calve expressed her desire to spread Williams’ powerful message as first shared during her acceptance speech for Billboard’s first-ever “Trailblazer” Award. In Williams’ acceptance speech, she praised Billboard for creating an award that celebrates woman for who they are.
“It’s a powerful message with a ripple effect,” Calve told me. “’Her Roots’ is all about that message [of] ‘you’re not strange for wanting to bang on drums or slay on the guitar or sit in your room and write songs all day when the rest of your friends aren’t. YOU’RE NOT ALONE!’ […] That’s what this series celebrates,” she said, “women being who they are and inspiring others to do the same.
For Tufts, his motivation for the project stems from his experiences as a percussion instructor for the past fifteen years. “I’ve seen, and I still see, my female students becoming discouraged about gender stereotypes that don’t favor women,” Tufts said, “not just in the drumming world, but in the music world at large.”
“I think that as a result, music as an art suffers,” Tufts continued. “Every time a girl becomes discouraged from playing drums or playing music, that’s one less voice participating in the conversation. The larger the diversity of perspectives, the richer the community becomes.”
It’s important to note that ‘Her Roots’ is about being inclusive rather than exclusive. “We don’t want to isolate our male counterparts,” Calve stressed. “After all, there will be men performing on stage too. [We] want men to feel newly inspired as well, to be a part of the positivity, celebration, and incredible music taking place.”
This Sunday ‘Her Roots’ begins its journey from humble concept to a full, live-action monthly show featuring the area’s finest female artists and introducing new and notable acts to the scene. The long-term goal for the ‘Her Roots’ team is to see the series build the local female music community off the stage through mentoring young women and coordinating volunteers with comparable organizations that encourage young women to pursue music.
The series begins at Gypsy Sally’s on February 22nd and moves to Vienna’s Jammin’ Java on March 29th. The immediate goal is to ensure this series has a home every last Sunday of every month, so stay tuned for future dates.
Want to help ‘Her Roots’ grow? You can simply by telling your friends, family, and neighbor about the new monthly concert series and community or by spreading the word across social media. ‘Her Roots’ currently has a Facebook Page as well as a Twitter handle and Instagram account via @herrootsmusic.
If you’re a female musician/performer interested in performing at a future showcase, email firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll be added to the list!