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Female musicians in Leeds on a mission to break down industry barriers

The Sisterhood Music Collective. Picture by Richard Sabey
The Sisterhood Music Collective. Picture by Richard Sabey

Meet four female artists who are working to empower people through music and break down barriers in an industry they feel is still dominated by men.

Singer-songwriters Fran Wyburn, Fuzzy Jones, Astraluna and Miranda Arieh met performing as individual artists on the Leeds music scene.

The Sisterhood Music Collective, as they are now known together, had its first gig in July last year and through shows in the city, as well as across the UK, the women are promoting collaboration and supporting female music makers.

Ms Wyburn, 35, said: “We have all had experiences of very much feeling the minority at venues and festivals. It is quite a male dominated arena and we want to put women at the forefront of the stage. We want to break down barriers around ageism and sexism in the music industry.”

As well as performing live music, the collective is also known for sharing the stories behind their songs and discussing the wider issues facing women in the industry.

Ms Wyburn said: “For me, there’s less female role models in music, especially older women starting out in the music industry. But we are women in our mid to later 30s and we are going about doing this on our own terms.”

The group also aims to create a collaborative and supportive atmosphere and celebrate music as a way to inspire self-expression and support positive mental health and wellbeing. It has his month secured £1,000 of funding from Leeds Inspired, a part of Leeds City Council which supports culture in the city.

The women will use the money to deliver four workshops across the city in the Autumn, exploring song-writing techniques and using music in a mindful way.

Those involved in the sessions will help to write a song, which will then be performed at Love Arts Festival, a celebration of creativity and mental wellbeing in Leeds, in October.