Over the last year, the process of collecting and collating a book of tunes by 100 contemporary female composers in the folk/traditional scene in the UK and Ireland has been underway, and it is hoped the book of compositions will be published in 2022 by Faber.
The project started when Rachael McShane emailed Kathryn Tickell asking if she had any tunes she could teach her fiddle group, after she realised that every tune on her list was written by a man. This led Rachael to seek out tunes by female composers, and Kathryn joined the search, asking some of the female tune-writers she knew whether they knew of any collections of tunes by female composers. The answer was a resounding no, but the seed of an idea was planted. Now, Faber has agreed to publish a collection of tunes by female writers, and Kathryn and her tunebook team have been working towards making the book a reality – listening to the tunes submitted, deciding which would work best, adding suggested chords to the tunes where needed etc.
It is hoped that the book will be part of a wider project. Says Kathryn Tickell: “We are setting up a kind of royalties collective where, instead of each woman getting the rather small royalty that one or two tunes would generate, it is planned that all the money will be pooled to set up a website to promote, support and celebrate the work of women tune-writers (whether they are included in the book or not)… This is a great opportunity to showcase some of the brilliant tunes written by women, and to set up an ongoing resource to promote female tune-writers… I am absolutely committed to making this a significant, representative and inclusive document. I know there are more than 100 great female tune-writers out there, so if we get more than 100 people submitting then choices will have to be made… And if this book is a success, then hopefully there will be Volume 2...”