Anna Crusis Women's Choir

But We Fight for Roses Too

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The Anna Crusis Women's Choir, based in Philadelphia, bills itself as "the oldest feminist choir in the United States, est. 1975." The group's name is clever, and the material often is, too, with flashes of humor that make this little collection of interest to listeners beyond circles that may be drawn to the group by social or political affinities. There are, of course, several political numbers, such as Libby Harding's Mujer Sandinista (track 2) and Burning Times (track 4), Charlie Murphy's remarkable chronicle of suppression of female-centered ideologies. But these are balanced by pieces that draw on popular female-vocal styles such as girl-group music, not discarding feminist ideas but turning the styles to new uses. Sample Pamela Brandt and Helen Hooke's country-swing No Chicken Today (track 5), in which a leering trucker gets his comeuppance at the hands of a group of veteran diner waitresses. The styles range from Renaissance polyphony (a Marian Palestrina motet is included) to Bulgarian women's choral music (not easy to execute as cleanly as these choristers do) to pop, all hanging together due to the performers' enjoyment of the music. The program is basically a cappella, but the 36-member choir is accompanied by a guitar or percussion on a few numbers. The chief defect here is the gymnasium sound common on self-published releases of this kind; however, ...but we fight for roses too can be recommended for those wishing to sample the genre of women's music in the choral field.

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