The Beat Goes On For Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country

Drummer Viola Smith shocked the jazz world by claiming “hep girls” could sit in on any jam session and hold their own. That was more than 70 years ago. Yet the very idea of women drumming remains a novelty even today. That shouldn’t be. Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country (Rowman & Littlefield) is a compelling argument for gender parity, the first comprehensive book of its kind, focusing on women drummers in popular music idioms.

Author Angela Smith offers an exhaustive look at the world of professional drumming and the women who had the courage and chops to break the barriers of this all-too-male field. Combining archival research with personal interviews of more than fifty female drummers representing more than eight decades in music history, Smith paints a vivid picture of their struggles to overcome discrimination—not only as professional musicians but in other parts of their lives. 

Women Drummers outlines the evolution of female drumming from pre-biblical times when women held important leadership roles to their silencing by the church during the Middle Ages to spearheading the fight for women’s rights in the modern era. The stories and personal accounts of female drummers who bucked tradition and societal norms are told against the backdrop of the times in which they performed and the genres they represented, from rock and jazz to blues and country. 

Written for followers of popular music and also for those interested in gender and women’s rights issues, an excerpt appears in the latest issue of Tom Tom Magazine.  

Angela Smith is a native Texan and award-winning writer and working musician.  She is Executive Director Emeritus of the Writers’ League of Texas and a former reporter for the Associated Press.  A graduate of the University of Texas, she is also a political activist and a member of Zonta International, an organization dedicated to the advancement of women’s status throughout the world. Smith is active as a board member and advisory board member of numerous arts organizations.

Her book Steel Drums And Steelbands: A History (Scarecrow Press/Rowman & Littlefield) has been an international bestseller since its release in 2012. When she’s not writing, editing or gigging as a pan player, cellist or pianist, you can find her gazing through a telescope at star clusters, galaxies and nebulae, talking politics or fighting for women’s rights.

I received this book and am finding it very interesting to read! A very inspiring book!

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Self Disclosure: I received this book to facilitate this feature.

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