By Kat Bein
By Shea Serrano
By S. Pajot
By Terrence McCoy
By Falyn Freyman
By Shea Serrano
By Jacob Katel
By Michael E. Miller
On a recent March evening the members of She Said, a diverse ensemble of Miami's best female musicians, gathered to rehearse for their first-ever performance at the upcoming Fifth Annual Women and Culture Festival. She Said's director, Michelle "Quatro" Forman, readied her tape recorder excitedly as the musicians cheered each other on, praising one another's talents, which ranged from wicked guitar riffs to keeping the rhythm on the guiro to puffing a sweet melody on the flute. This marked the first time that Miami's best-known divas had joined forces, and the collective (eighteen strong) wanted to ensure that each member's voice would resound as a harmonic contrast to Miami's fusion scene, traditionally dominated by a lot of testosterone.
She Said has written ten jazz, funk, hip-hop, R&B, Afrobeat, and gospel songs specifically for this event. Cuban-American funk-soul singer Sol performs with gringa counterpart Quatro on an upbeat lovesong dedicated to the women's love affair with music. Angela Laino belts out some heavenly spirituals. Elastic Bond's Sofy EnCanto sings her sultry samba, and OrganicArma's Cristina Garcia throws a bit of her electric Bjork-style performance into the loop.
"It's magical, spiritual, and unprecedented. It's about us coming together and stepping outside of our boundaries as composers," Quatro said.
"It's almost a godly experience," added Sol.
The goddesses' collective shares the stage with reggae-dub group Agape, featuring bona fide rastafarian child Nadia Harris. Meanwhile midwife Corina Fitch's dance and percussion project, Shakti, combines dance, music, and ritual to explore the spiritual aspects of pregnancy.