What Berlin-based artists and activists are listening to this Women’s Day

A playlist in honor of the city's newest public holiday.

Photo by Brianna Santellan

A post for Omnified by Emma Krupp

Today marks Berlin’s first International Women’s Day with official holiday status in the city, meaning there’s plenty of programming to keep you busy on your day off. Still looking for a soundtrack to the day’s festivities?

Instead of solely defaulting to empowerment power ballads, we talked to a handful of women and nonbinary folks making waves across the city to hear what they’re listening to this Women’s Day.




Photo by Zara Zandieh

Emilia Roig is the founder and executive director of the Center for Intersectional Justice (CIJ), a Berlin-based organization centered on combating intersecting forms of inequality and discrimination in Europe.

“BBYGRL,” Nitty Scott

“I picked this song because it’s explicitly about the importance of intersectionality in feminism.”

“Hurry, Mama, Hurry! (Khawuleza),” Miriam Makeba

“This song is about apartheid violence and the way it affected women in the townships.”

“Hijabi,” Mona Haydar

“This song is offering another narrative about the hijab in Western countries. They reclaim feminism and freedom of choice.”

Photo by Walter Crasshole

Rachel Glassberg sings, plays guitars and writes songs for Glassberg & The Disasters, a self-proclaimed “indie-nerd scene” group. Her first full album is due out later this year.

“In the Band,” Party Fears

A perfect rebuttal to anyone who asks ‘Oh, is that your guitar?’ that also answers the question ‘What if Gwen never sold out post-Tragic Kingdom?’ They’re also behind the female-forward Bang On music festival, which I’d be giving a shout-out to even if I wasn’t playing at it on March 30.”

“Sun,” Entertainment for the Braindead

“Delicate, layered and sweet, like a really good piece of baklava. I’ve seen her magically silence entire rooms full of drunk dude-bros from the first note.”

“This is Not Rain,” Susie Asado

“The poet laureate of Berlin antifolk; I’m in awe of her way with words as well as her ability to go straight-up R&B while referencing René Magritte.”

Photo by Michael Rädel

MIKEY., an Australian-born singer-songwriter, pens synthy tracks about spirituality and experiencing trans-queer identity. MIKEY., who uses the gender-neutral pronoun it, premiered its first EP, “Paths,” last year.

“I Get Out,” Lauryn Hill

“I listen to this song now and it still has the same impact on me as when I first heard it. I feel like this song is at the root of what I want my own songs and message to be. ‘I get out of all your boxes. I get out!’”

“All I Really Want,” Alanis Morissette

“Alanis has this awkwardness in her voice and presence that makes the listener feel almost uncomfortable. Her lyrics are witty and unapologetic, crossed with this piercing foolishness that makes you want to find power in your own awkwardness and inner fool.”

“The Special Two,” Missy Higgins

“The way Missy uses her voice and Australian accent to sing makes me feel at home. She creates this feeling that is so warm and honest and in that moment she is your best friend and there for you to talk to.”

Courtesy of Clue

Dr. Tina Dingel is the chief operating officer of Clue, a Berlin-based startup app aimed at helping menstruating people track their periods and reproductive health.

“Overpowered,” Roisin Murphy
“Roisin Murphy is just a very cool artist who pushes boundaries with her music and style. She followed her own path from a young age onwards, living alone while still attending school. Musically, she does her thing, not paying too much attention to public approval.”

“Best Part,” H.E.R. feat. Daniel Caesar  
At only 21, Gabi Wilson, better known as H.E.R., has already made plenty of noise in the music world. Gabi feels like that this is the era of the anti-star. She really just wants it to be about the music, and get away from ‘Who is she with?’ and ‘What is she wearing?’”

“Tilted,” Christine and the Queens
‘Tilted’ is a hypnotic song put out by Héloïse Letissier and her ‘Queens,’ her drag queen backing band. She’s a supporter of transgender rights and has dedicated many of her songs to the transgender community.”

Courtesy of Dyan Valdes

Dyan Valdés plays synths and sings in Berlin-based synth-punk trio Mexican Radio, and co-hosts the monthly radio program, “The Mexican Radio Radio Show.” She is also a founding member of Los Angeles indie rock darlings The Blood Arm and has toured with Hamburg School pioneers Die Sterne for seven years.

“L.A.,” The Fall

“I want to honor the woman who was the architect of The Fall’s sound in their 1980s heyday: Brix Smith. I love the way her own spoken-word vocals creep up throughout the song to stand in contrast with his, and the music is a textbook example of the effortlessly cool style she brought to the band.”

“EMT Police and the Fire Department,” Shilpa Ray

“This is a newer discovery of mine. The first time I heard it, the song blew me away with its unapologetic cacophony of rage and ecstasy. She’s like the warrior poet heiress to Patti Smith’s New York lit-punk legacy.”

Photo by Joe Dilworth

Jealous, the all-female punk band helmed by musicians Dane Joe, Paz Bonfil and Alice Huet, makes music “inspired by lipstick and bad relationships” under local label Baby Satan Records.

“Unzip Your Forehead,” Death Valley Girls

“We played a show with them a few weeks ago, and we fell so in love with them. Like a reincarnation of Black Sabbath, they share our love of darkness, glitter and Iggy Pop. Their show was like a wave on inspiration that washed us over.”

“The Hot Pearl Snatch,” The Cramps

“The Cramps has always been one of our favorites. As they say, ‘We’re sick and tired of rock ‘n’ roll getting such a good name. … We like to keep it unhealthy and sick like it’s supposed to be.”

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