The Sirens of Song Festival, a vibrant and eclectic music event, was held recently to celebrate and showcase talented female musicians in the spirit of the iconic Lilith Fair. The festival brought together a diverse array of artists, from established acts to emerging talent, creating a unique and empowering atmosphere. This article captures the essence of the festival through interviews with some of the performers, providing insights into their experiences and the event’s impact on the music scene.
By Al Thomas, Entertainment Reporter for Rockland News
Video footage, interviews with the organizers, performing artists, as well as Defiant Brewery representatives are included in the story below.
Interview with Hot Blooded, Rachel Alisa and Allison Cipris – Festival Organizers
In this interview, the members of the band Hot Blooded share their experience performing at the first annual Sirens of Song festival. They discussed the adrenaline rush they felt after coming off the stage and the excitement of performing live after not gigging for a while.
The band talks about how they accidentally formed when the members were introduced to each other at open mic nights. They’ve received incredible support from their fans and appreciate the female-driven vibe of the festival. The interviewer asked about a specific song – What’s Up, that they performed with a slow start that suddenly turned into a punk rock song, which was meant to surprise and excite the audience. They also discuss their involvement in other bands, the itch to perform again, and the energy they get from playing to an engaged crowd.
People walking by expressed their hope that the Sirens of Song festival will be held again in the future, and the band members seem excited about the possibility.
Rachel and Allison, the festival’s organizers, discussed their motivations for creating the Sirens of Song Festival. They wanted to honor the spirit of the Lilith Fair while also providing a platform for female musicians to showcase their talent. The festival featured both covers of songs by renowned female artists and original music by emerging performers. The duo emphasized the importance of supporting and elevating women in the music industry.
Alison Cipris describes her music as country rock, often compared to Sheryl Crow and Jennifer Nettles. She has always been a fan of female fronted music, with artists such as the aforementioned Sheryl Crow and Susanna Hoffs inspiring her from a young age.
Allison has been involved in the Nashville songwriting scene, working and collaborating with many talented songwriters. Her writing process sometimes involves writing alone, but she often works with co-writers. In the studio, the vibe is different for her solo work than with her cover band, Country Fresh. For her solo work, she typically takes the lead, guiding the instrumentation and sound. When discussing female-driven music, she believes that the Sirens Song Festival showcased a diverse lineup of acoustic performers, full bands, and trios.
She thinks that acoustic guitars often provide a softer background for female songwriters, but women can also excel in other genres like rock, metal, and pop. You can find Alison online through her website, AllisonCiprisMusic.com, as well as on Instagram and Facebook under Alison Cipris Music.
Sandy Stones Trio
Sandy Stones Trio discusses their background, influences, and experiences as a band. The group consists of three amazing performers. During the interview they mention that they have been playing together for about 12 years, having met through mutual acquaintances. The band’s inspiration comes from a variety of sources, including the original Lilith Fair artists and music from the 60s and 70s, which their parents exposed them to.
The Sandy Stones Trio takes pride in performing songs with lots of harmony and enjoys singing together. They like to play well-known songs that other bands may not typically cover, aiming to appeal to people of all ages. One of their favorite aspects of performing as a band is putting their unique spin on cover songs while still retaining the original’s essence.
The group has faced some challenges, such as playing without a bassist for a short period of time when one member – Paul Del Corral (Paulie) broke his finger, resulting in solo performances for about three months. Yet the Sandy Stones Trio picked up right where they left off, and continues to perform together. Many upcoming gigs are available to connect to at (3) Sandy Stones Music | Westwood NJ | Facebook – and they encourage people to follow them on social media, including Instagram and Facebook, where they post about future performances. Their music can also be found on Bands in Town, where fans can receive updates about their shows.
Jackie June – the selected artist for the day’s groundbreaking performance, discussed with Rockland News her musical journey and her inspirations. Jackie has always loved singing and comes from a family of singers. She started songwriting about five or six years ago, inspired by her voice teacher, Jess, who encouraged her to write and explore her potential as an artist.
She released her first single in 2018 and then an EP, but her momentum was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her songwriting is inspired by late nineties and early two thousands pop music, with an emphasis on themes of empowerment, overcoming obstacles, and mental health. Jackie’s writing process varies; sometimes, she starts with lyrics and a message, while other times, she hears a melody and builds a song around it.
She has a show coming up on April 7th in Asbury Park, New Jersey, at the Asbury Hotel, and she’s excited to play more shows this spring. Her website is JackieJune.com, and she can be found on social media under the name Jackie June Music NJ.
Bulletproof Heart, a band formed by musicians Rosanne, Eric, Chris, and Tom, took to the stage with energy and enthusiasm. They shared their story of forming the band, which involved a lot of bourbon and chance encounters at various boat clubs, restaurants, pubs and music venues. Eric had always wanted to have a female lead singer in a band and found that opportunity with Rosanne. They met through their mutual membership at the Nyack Boat Club and eventually started jamming together, with Tom joining on guitar.
Their first gig was in February 2020, but the pandemic forced them to retreat to their basement for practice and quarantine music creation. They didn’t start playing live regularly until a year later. Bulletproof Heart expressed their gratitude for being part of the Sirens of Song Festival, saying it was a fantastic event with a great vibe. They performed covers of deeper cuts from artists like Juliana Hatfield and Letters to Cleo, as well as classics from The Pretenders.
Discussing the festival’s inspiration, the band noted that the event aimed to provide a platform for up-and-coming artists and give visibility to women in music, much like the original Lilith Fair.
Erin from Defiant Brewery has been supportive of the local music community for years, with the brewery considered a hub for music in Rockland County.
The first festival focused on female-driven and female-led music was a success, with attendees hoping for more events like it in the future. Defiant Brewery not only provides great food, but also a variety of musical acts.
They host bigger bands on Friday and Saturday nights on the stage, and acoustic music in the bar area on Sundays. The atmosphere is family-oriented and casual, with board games available for kids to play. The brewery is open to different genres, including jazz, classical, pop, alternative, acoustic, R&B and more. At the moment, they are considering organizing a heavy metal night in the coming months.
Defiant Brewery, located in Pearl River, New York, is an excellent venue for food, craft beers, and diverse live music. Visit them on the web at Defiant Brewing Co. website.
The Sirens of Song Festival successfully brought together a diverse group of female musicians, showcasing their talent and fostering a supportive and empowering atmosphere. As this reporter was packing his gear, he heard numerous people saying “I hope they do this again next year.”
The event also paid true homage to the spirit of the Lilith Fair, while also providing a platform for emerging artists to share their original music. The interviews with the performers highlight the festival’s impact on the music scene and the importance of creating spaces that celebrate and elevate women in the industry.
As the festival concluded, it was evident that the Sirens of Song Festival had left an indelible mark on all those who participated. The event not only honored the trailblazing female musicians who came before but also inspired a new generation of artists to continue pushing boundaries and making their voices heard. It is crucial that events like this continue to champion women in music and foster an environment where creativity, collaboration, and mutual support thrive.
The success of the first Sirens of Song Festival is a testament to the power and resilience of female musicians and serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when we come together to celebrate and uplift one another.