Feminist folk singer ends tour in Fredericton

Written by Sophie M. Lavoie on September 9, 2016


Janice Jo Lee performing in Fredericton on Aug. 20, 2016. Photo by Rhonda Connell.

The Fredericton Youth Feminists hosted feminist folk singer Janice Jo Lee on the last stop of her tour on Saturday, August 20th at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre Auditorium in Fredericton.

The Fredericton Youth Feminists (FYF) is an activist group of young people from the capital region that advocate for equality. This dynamic group garnered much public attention during the dress code debate at Fredericton High School in 2014 and has advocated relentlessly for reproductive freedom since its inception.

Local young spoken word artist and FYF member, Keighley Nunes, opened up the night with a few beautiful poems. Nunes won first place in High School Spoken Word at the NB Provincial Speak Out in 2014.

Opening act was Lee collaborator, Lydia Mainville, originally from Saint John. Mainville is a looping artist who uses her cello to compose songs. Mainville’s hauntingly beautiful songs make her an important addition to the New Brunswick music scene. She has only professionally recorded one song, “Saltwater Daughter,” in which one hears the sound of whooshing water and screeching gulls. Mainville recently relocated from Kitchener-Waterloo, where she was studying, to Moncton for work.

Also a looping artist, Janice Jo Lee performed compositions from her last album and newer tunes. Lee plays the trumpet and the guitar and Mainville accompanied her for two songs closing the set. She mostly sang songs from her 2016 release, “Sing Hey” which, she told the audience is also the way to pronounce her given Korean name.

Lee mixes original music inspired by folk and 1990s hip hop, with powerful denunciatory lyrics. In songs like “Hard Femme High Power” she proclaims her “right to exist” as a femme and “get free” while in “Queer Cred” she denounces popular stereotypes surrounding gender. Her catchy lyrics and persistent enthusiasm had the auditorium singing and clapping along to songs like “Here I am.”

FYF also used the event to launch the third edition of their zine, titled “Bad News: Love.” The wonderful zine features pieces on asexuality, self-care and illustrated instructions on how to make a dental dam.  All monies raised at the event will be used for FYF’s activities in the upcoming year.

Sophie M. Lavoie writes on arts and culture for the NB Media Co-op.

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