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Musical homage to women's role in World War One
Weekend Notes' first encounter with singer/ songwriter Louise Jordan was in 2014 when she was preparing to perform in Birmingham to promote her third album Veritas.
Louise knows the city well, having studied law at Birmingham University, and she is looking forward to returning on April 3, 2017, for her new show at the Crescent Theatre.
No Petticoats Here is the latest project from the New Forest-based artist. It tells the real-life stories of varied and remarkable women of the Great War through song and was inspired by the story of Dorothy Lawrence, an orphan whose guardian lived in Salisbury Cathedral Close. Dorothy dressed as a soldier in order to visit the Western Front and pursue her journalistic ambitions.
Louise became fascinated by the stories of female ambulance drivers, scientists, footballers and spies and No Petticoats Here is the culmination of over a year of research that has taken her to the battlefields of the Somme, the Belgian frontline at Pervijse and countless museums and historic research centres.
Through contact with the relatives and biographers of some of these extraordinary women, Louise was able to add greater depth and detail to their stories, bringing to life their courage and compassion.
She says: "The First World War too often remembers women as the mourners of the fallen, as frugal housewives 'making do' or angelic nurses caring patiently for the men who returned from the Front Line. Through No Petticoats Here I remember some of the many women whose stories do not fit conveniently into boxes and whose experiences are both astonishing and relatable 100 years on."
From the driving, rhythmic piano of Queen of Spies, which captures the story of the charming and bold Frenchwoman Louise de Bettignies, to the intensely personal Mairi, about the disintegration of a devoted friendship, the accompanying album is as musically diverse as the women's stories it tells.
Ripple and Flow captures Hertha Ayrton's patient pursuit of change through her scientific achievements, the elegant interweaving clarinet and piano mirroring the ebb and flow of the water motions she studied. By contrast, the resolute march of the army of women workers on Toil, Women, Toil is accompanied by a single snare drum.
Explaining the project's title, Louise says: ''Since the summer of 2015 I have been uncovering the stories of extraordinary women and their remarkable achievements. During the early stages of my research, I read that Dr Elsie Inglis, in her efforts to set up Scottish Women's Hospitals during the Great War, was told to 'go home and sit still; we don't want any petticoats here' by a Member of Parliament. No Petticoats Here was born.''