Sisters of Invention: the challenged pop group

To change the ‘normal’ people’s perception on persons with disabilities (PWDs), five women with learning disabilities formed the first pop girl group in Adelaide.

Aimee, 28, has Williams syndrome. Jackie, 25, has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Annika, 28, is blind with a mild intellectual disability. Both Michelle, 24, and Caroline, 29, have cerebral palsy and, like Annika, a mild intellectual disability.

Every track in the 10-song alternative pop album is the girls’ own story. Chaos And Serenity, for one, is about the “mixed messages” Annika would hear at school: her parents believe she could succeed while her principal won’t. Another track, Tsunami Of Kites, is about Jackie’s cousin who committed suicide.

The Sisters of Invention first performed in 2010 after the singers met through the Tutti Arts, a South Australian organization that supports disabled artists. Michelle said the band’s name was derived from the members’ treatment to each other and their mission ‘to change people’s view of people with disabilities.’

“And that’s where The Sisters of Invention differ from what your average listener or viewer might expect of a ‘disabled band’: this is no parade of trite ~inspirational anthems~. Rather, they are top notch pop songs that, like any other artist, deal with the emotional truths of life; it just happens that for these women, that involves living with disabilities (and living with people’s prejudices about those disabilities),” Clem Bastow, broadcaster and music critic currently based in Melbourne, Australia, wrote in her column for the Daily Life.

The Sisters of Invention would perform 20-30 paid gigs every year. The band’s producer, Michael Ross, has been working with them ever since “to get them to the point where their natural musical talents have created broadcast standard records.” Together, they are already preparing for the Sisters of Invention’s upcoming album. The second video, in fact, is already underway and would be shot at the Luna Park in Sydney.

All of members were influenced by Stella Young, a comedian, journalist and disability advocate in Australia. Her humor was the one that spurred them to change their own thinking about disability and in turn to attempt to do the same for their listeners.

“We’re here to challenge people … and just to get the music out there and where we should be.” ~Aimee Crathern

Video permitted to be posted by the ABC News

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