By Will McGuirk
On Thursday Mar 8, International Women's Day, Toronto folk punk Skye Wallace will release her new single, "Swing Batter", (based on the 1911 trial of Angelina Napolitano in Sault Ste Marie) with a performance at Array Music in Toronto. Wallace will partner with Toronto Womxn In Music and herHABITAT. The show will feature sets by Skye, Lydia Persaud, Winona Wilde, Merival, and jes sachse, as well as pop-up vendors from NEW FRDM and Knot Naked. The event is sponsored by She Does The City and Beau’s and is in support of Sistering, a multi-service agency for at-risk, socially isolated women in Toronto.
Wallace will also be performing May 7 at DRKRM in Uxbridge and in Whitby Mar 14 at the Whitby Curling Club.
Q: Can you tell me about the event at Array and what people can expect when they go? Also something about your relationship with the other artists on the bill?
"This is going to be a multi-faceted show of music, art, and celebration. We’ve got performances from myself, Lydia Persaud, Winona Wilde, Merival, and a feature performance piece by artist jes sachse. We’ll also be showcasing guest vendors New FRDM & Knot Naked at the event. Beau’s is sponsoring our bar, and there will be a silent auction as well featuring local artists and brands such as The Likely General, Muttonhead, Nic ter Horst, and more.
"All of the people on the bill are so incredible and I feel very lucky to have this line-up.
"I’ve actually never had the chance to share the stage with any of them for their solo projects, so this will be an exciting first!"
Q: According to the press release, “Angelina's story is an insight into how the shift has happened in the past, and how we need to perpetuate that shift by working hard, being inclusive, vocal, and active, and educating ourselves and others."
Can you suggest to our readers some ways they can continue this work?
"I think action is a very important thing right now. Engaging in and supporting your communities is imperative; get involved in charity events supporting undermined groups in your community, volunteer with organizations that work for equality, women’s rights, anti-poverty, etc. Having your voice heard as an ally not just at women’s rights rallies, but rallies supporting indigenous rights, black lives, the queer community, is so necessary.
"So is doing the work in acknowledging and educating yourself regarding the implications of race and gender, and working to dismantle the systems of oppression in this country and around the world.
"One great example that you can get involved in is the #Next150 challenge.
"https://next150.indianhorse.ca is a series of challenges and engagement with literature, music, art, and culture working toward Reconciliation."
Q: In what ways are you going to continue to spotlight the history of others who have paved the way for this current climate of empowerment of women?
"This entire upcoming album is actually focussing on this. It’s a subject that I have gravitated towards, and an area that is rife with untold stories that are fundamental to the understanding of the history of feminism and women’s rights, as well as providing a context for the current climate.
"A lot of these women weren’t big names in headlines or as prevalent a story as Angelina’s. Some of them that I’ve written about are midwives, mothers, prostitutes, unheard voices that permeated with a strength that is so empowering to learn about. A lot of these stories are based in Newfoundland and the Yukon, places I had the pleasure of doing writing residencies in this last year. I’m excited to share the stories I’ve learned about and share the strength of these women with folks who listen to my music."
Q: There are those who will not define themselves by gender but see themselves as just them - and International Women Day is not needed anymore, but instead focus on collective human rights - why is International Women Day important do you think?
"This is actually a really important point. A lot of people are adopting International Womxn’s Day as an alternative spelling for that reason, as many groups (including Toronto Womxn In Music, who are co-presenting the event) are striving to be inclusive of not just female-identifying individuals in their work toward equality.
"I do still see International Womxn’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate inclusivity, as well as a way to come together to educate and support one another.
"I see feminism in this way as well - for many, the focus on collective human rights is a very important aspect of their platforms. When putting together this event, I wanted to be very mindful of representation of not just women, but non-binary/gender queer/trans-identifying folks as well.
"One of the vendors, J of New FRDM, is doing incredible work to educate, empower, and inspire change in how gender identity is viewed. They’re an awesome clothing designer, but are also making an impact with their Gender Freedom Club. Check out what they do at https://newfrdm.com