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US woman band finds voice in matriliny

Members of BETTY

Shillong, Jan. 30: Landing in matrilineal Meghalaya, the all-women, alternative pop music band from New York — BETTY — appealed through music for an end to gender-based violence.

The three-member band comprising Elizabeth Ziff (vocals, guitar), Alyson Palmer (vocals, bass) and Amy Ziff (vocals, cello) enthralled a small gathering, mostly local musicians, here this evening with their soul-stirring music.

“Get up, get up and dance, get up, get up and sing, get up, get up and change everything...”

The excerpt from one of their songs they performed was to drive home the point what Palmer had earlier told the gathering — “We are the change we are waiting for; we can’t wait anymore...”

Elizabeth applauded the people here who have been standing up against gender-based violence.

“If you don’t speak against injustice, you are on the side of the oppressors. We can’t side with oppressors anymore,” Palmer added.

The BETTY women use their music for humanitarian outreach, working for equal rights, peace, and the empowerment of girls and women. Since 2012, the group has brought their unique blend of music and social issues to local communities across the world via the US department of state programmes.

The group’s music spreads a message of equality, tolerance, and anti-bullying in an effort to fight gender-based violence and homophobia.

Since 1986, BETTY has performed in memorable live shows in clubs, theatres and public arenas all over the world. The band has toured the US, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Russia, western Europe, Scandinavia and Argentina.

The group’s last release — Rise — is a hit featuring the song One Billion Rising the band wrote in 2013 for Eve Ensler’s global campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Today’s programme was organised by the American Center in collaboration with a local NGO, Amatsara. American Center deputy director Rachel Sunden was also present at the programme.

Tomorrow BETTY will hold a workshop at St Anthony’s College here before travelling to Guwahati. The group will also perform in Hyderabad.

Talking about Shillong, Palmer said, “Your town has a reputation beyond the hills. People say that if you want music, you should go to Shillong.”