• subscribe
  • Search
  • Aoife O'Donovan & Dawn Landes on Basic Folk
    Sign Up For Weekly Dispatch
    Get the best of BGS delivered to your inbox.
    We Respect Your Privacy
Roots Culture Redefined

Header Main

Place Ads

Aoife O’Donovan & Dawn Landes on Basic Folk

Apr 4, 2024

Aoife O'Donovan & Dawn Landes on Basic Folk

Aoife O’Donovan and Dawn Landes are long-time friends. Coincidentally, they both have new albums with strong feminist themes, so I wanted to interview them together and talk about WOMEN.

Aoife’s album, All My Friends, is specifically centered around Carrie Chapman Catt, a prominent leader in the suffragist movement. Inspired by speeches and letters, one song of Aoife’s, “War Measure,” is based on a letter of support from Woodrow Wilson to Chapman Catt. This album also marks the biggest project Aoife has worked on with her husband Eric Jacobsen, who conducts the Orlando Philharmonic and the Virginia Symphony Orchestras. It’s also the first record she’s released since becoming a mother. Of her song “Daughters,” she says she sings “as a modern woman, not wanting to leave the fight to the daughters of our daughters.”


Dawn Landes, also a mother, has a broader focus with her new album, The Liberated Woman’s Songbook. It features songs from the 1971 songbook of the same title, intended to inspire second wave feminists’ women’s liberation movement, and modern feminism of the 1970s. The songs span from 1830 (“Hard is the Fortune of All Womankind”) to 1970 (“There Was a Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie,” “Liberation, Now!“), showcasing how women of the past expressed political activism in the struggle for gender equality.

Both Aoife and Dawn released their albums during Women’s History Month, which led us to a discussion of what that choice means to each of them. We also talk about protest signs, the Taylor Swift movie, gender stereotypes, and of course, all waves of feminism. Chatting about the 19th Amendment, we acknowledge that this only allowed white women to vote, which then leads to talk of how suffragists and feminist protest songwriters – like Meredith Tax – contributed to and gleaned inspiration from the civil rights movement.

Aoife and Dawn are legends! We start with what their internal dialogues were like when first undertaking these ambitious and important projects and end with Aoife putting Barbie on blast. All and all, this one’s a winner.

Photo Credit: Dawn Landes by Heather Evans Smith; Aoife O’Donovan by Sasha Israel.

Suggested Reads

Sitewide Footer Banner

Aoife O'Donovan & Dawn Landes on Basic Folk
Aoife O'Donovan & Dawn Landes on Basic Folk