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our work > news > Celebrating women artists who inspire us
Celebrating women artists who inspire us

For International Women’s Day this year, we asked women from the MWB network about their favorite female artists and the songs that mean the most to each of them. 

We ended up with a playlist with contributions from El Salvador, Rwanda, North Macedonia, Palestine and Kosovo, featuring an array of music genres from rap to R&B, from dream pop to pop. 

The songs are about children living in conflict situations, the challenges of womanhood, love and relationships… they are political, they are personal, and each song means something special to the woman who chose it. 

Tehamana Lazar, vocal coach at Roma Rock School, Skopje in North Macedonia

Favorite singer: Sarah Vaughn

Favorite song: Four Women by Nina Simone.

“…Whoever we are, (as women) we face so many difficulties. Each woman in the song is represented as tough…In the end we come out strong.” 

Tehamana likes Simone’s feminist and social messages in her songs.

Yasmeen al-Atrash, music workshop leader, Palestine Community Music, Palestine

Favorite singer: Remi Bendali

Favorite song: Atuna el toufoule (Give us the childhood) by Remi Bendali

Sung by 5-year-old Remi, and then again 30 years later, it is about how children living in war are deprived of innocence and childhood. Says Yasmeen, “This song inspires me and many people because every word in it touches my heart. It makes me think about children everywhere, who live in bad situations and with war. 

Eva Peñate, trainee at Soy Musica, our community music leadership training in El Salvador 

Favorite singer: Cecilia

Favorite songs: El ramito de violetas and Mi querida España. 

“The first song describes a woman trapped in a marriage with an ‘evil’ man. He’s incapable of sharing feelings, but secretly loving her as an anonymous lover.”  And Mi querida España “…was censored by the Franco government (for its social criticism of the regime). It was a tribute to a beloved country.

“I like Cecilia because she wrote songs that confronted society of her time (under the spanish dictatorship), both socially and politically. She also had the mysticism and tenderness of the experiences of a woman’s secret life. Both situations are reflected in the two chosen songs.”

Fani Skenderovska, Director of Music School Enterprise in Skopje, North Macedonia

Favorite singer: Alicia Keys

Favorite song: Fallin’  

“Keys says that this song is about the ups and downs of a relationship. Sometimes, you’re completely head-over-heels in love with someone, and sometimes you can’t stand that person.”

Fani says she likes that Keys is a really good pianist and vocalist, and she likes her singing style. 

Milizza Kosova, Director of Operations at Mitrovica Rock School, Kosovo

Favorite singer: Victoria Legrand, frontwoman of the duo dream pop band Beach House. 

Favorite song: Other People by Beach House

“One of my favourite songs, Other People, is about relationships. I like Legrand  because she has a very unique voice, and I like her music because of the dreamy sounds and continuous presence of atmospheric synthesizers. 

Jacqueline Rivera, trainee of Soy Música, El Salvador is also a community facilitator and rapper

Favourite singer: Flor de Rap 

Favorite song: Inmarchitable 

“The song is autobiographical, it describes the difficult life of the artist, growing up as a girl in Latinx community, and how despite everything, she continues to thrive between the mud and putrefaction, like many roses and tulips.”

Jacqueline likes Flor de Rap because she represents how despite all the difficulties, a young girl can thrive and become who she wants to be. 

Chantal Benekigeri, Director of Clinical Systems at WE-ACTx For Hope, MWB’s partner organisation in Rwanda

Chantal Benekigeri from Rwanda

Favorite singer: Alicia Keys

Favorite song: We are here

“I like her because she is a superwomen, one of the rare women who is devoted to helping vulnerable children in Africa. She helps children in need, especially those affected and infected by HIV in India and in Africa. 

And here is the entire playlist.