Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Sisters with Transistors



Like most areas of life, the music industry has always been a male dominated world. Where women have excelled, it’s normally in spheres which haven’t traditionally been the province of men. Thankfully, this disparity is slowly beginning to change and with-it entrenched attitudes towards female musicians. Those pioneers who entered a man’s world, pushed boundaries and laid the foundations for future generations are finally starting to receive the recognition they deserve.

Sisters with Transistors, the new documentary from artists and filmmaker Lisa Rovner, celebrates those innovative composers and musicians whose role in musical history has been overlooked or downplayed. She charts the rise of these extraordinary electronic trailblazers, including Daphne Oram, Eliane Radigue, Delia Derbyshire, Pauline Oliveros, Suzanne Ciani, Bebe Barron, Clara Rockmore, Maryanne Amacher, and Laurie Spiegel.

Narrated by Laurie Anderson and using rare archive footage, Sisters with Transistors goes some way to righting a historical wrong. It captures the astounding achievements of a group of women who thrived in the masculine world of new technology. Each musician is afforded time for their own story, building up their contributions into a larger whole. Sisters with Transistors uses their words and their music to tell their tales.

Sisters with Transistors is available to stream as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest until 13 November.

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