We are really proud to use our voice to support International Women's Day...it has become a big day in the BOND calendar and we really look forward to supporting Care International each year!
Gender discrimination is an issue really close to our hearts. As we travel and perform around the globe, we are acutely aware that many women still do not have even basic human rights due to their gender. It's our privilege to use any influence we have to to positively support women and their case for equality.
As a band of female musicians, our journey through the largely male dominated music industry has had its highs and lows. Being a string quartet, our image has always been a source of controversy as we don’t present ourselves as a traditional classical group. Our shows aren’t at all classical as our music isn’t strictly classical; we perform on electric instruments with a band and we have the freedom to move around on stage (some might call it choreography? Nah...) and have fun interacting with the audience and performing together.
We’re aware that our image and how we present ourselves is a big part of how we are viewed as artists. We have made many unfortunate fashion choices over the years that keep resurfacing to haunt us. But we are also very proud of what we’ve achieved, we never would have thought as four musicians at college that we would end up the best- selling string quartet of all time!
As our music is instrumental there is no language barrier so we’ve been very fortunate to tour all over the world, even to countries where many “western” artists don’t tour. It’s given us a view into a variety of different cultures and we have met many inspiring female artists and women working in the music industry all over the world. We’ve seen many examples of sexism and misogyny - at the less extreme end of the spectrum - we are regularly asked, “but who’s looking after your children?” so we try to gently remind the interviewers in question that men *also* have children and many of them also work. And then our faces twitch a bit.
But this problem isn’t unique to the music industry and it’s something we all need to work to change.
In certain countries we have had to submit our stage clothes for inspection by government officials and had official guidelines on what is appropriate to wear. This isn’t a problem for us as it’s important to be culturally respectful and aware of our audience. It’s certainly preferable to being asked to “dress really sexy” for a corporate show by an agent!
Our message to women and girls is that barriers can be broken down. We have experienced this first hand as received a lot of of controversy and criticism when we released our debut album and were abruptly kicked out of the classical charts. However, this then sparked a really interesting discussion about what constitutes “classical” music these days as film music and crossover now dominate the classical charts.
As women working together in Bond, we are there to support and encourage each other in our musical journey which is 20 years so far. We used to joke we’d be doing concerts in our nineties and I really hope that comes true, even if we’re the only audience! We get so many letters from children who have taken up instruments after seeing us or hearing our music and I really hope we can inspire more women in the future to follow their musical dreams wherever it takes them!