Bickley Rivera



Amazing Musicwomen


Jazzwomen Directory

Musicwomen around the world bring not only music to us but documentation of the phenomenon that music creates amongst people and nations.

Read this article about Bickley Rivera, Steel Pan player and one of the talented composers on our  compilation CD: http://landolakes.patch.com/articles/land-o-lakes-artist-helps-her-fans-chill

The reporter wrote: "The first true steelpan used by musicians was an empty biscuit container. The next development was the discovery that when you hammered a paint pan out from the inside, different notes could be played on the pan. Soon the bent peace of steel gave way to the steel drum that could produce simple melodies. The early steel pans made of paint tins or biscuit tins had only a handful of notes. They were one foot in diameter and two feet long. They were tuned to the highest upper pitch note the steel pan could produce.

"Soon drummers discovered that bulges of different sizes in the bottom of a tin could produce sounds of various pitches. In 1939, a drummer named Winston "Spree" Simon began playing melodies on the first tuned tins. He is considered to be the inventor of the tuned tins. Spree later produced the first convex (dome-shaped) steel pan."

Responses from members about the origin of steelpan in Trinidad

Sharon S. wrote: "I wanted to share this article with you because this made me feel outrage, since it gave no mention of the origins of steelpan or any of the pioneers. http://www.toucans.net/pan_history.html

Carol N. wrote: "I feel the same way as there was no mention of where steelpan originated, which was from Trinidad. I can send you so much history about this great music and I am proud of our people from Trinidad who because the slaves were free started this trend of music as they were so grateful for the freedom."

Bickley wrote: "Thank you for your input . I know that the history of steelpan is so important and should be shared. We talked about the history in my interview, however, the reporter chose not to include everything we talked about, including some other information. Unfortunately, that's the way it goes with reporting, as it's sometimes the perspective the reporter wants to show. My focus as a  steelpan artist is to bridge the gap with other music communities and show how such a beautiful instrument can be used in many types of genres, and also give new listeners a fresh sound to popularize. It gives them a great path to be able to question the instrument and wonder more about its past. Seeing as the instrument did not evolve from my personal history I have great respect for how far it has come to its present time. It is truly emerging into a great solo instrument that can be enjoyed in even more styles of music today! I am glad that your links and info about the history is here for other readers to view."

Sharon S. wrote on 2-14-11: "Thanks! you [Joan] are the best, it is one of those things when former slaves create; it struck a chord. As we know with history, so many things black folks create, they take for granted.  I will forward her response to the folks who read, the article."

Joan C. wrote on 2-14-11: Yes, Sharon, this is exactly why I founded WIJSF and why we need the input that you brought to this issue from ALL THE MEMBERS! Not only have blacks been robbed of their musical innovations but women have been omitted from the canvas of musical creation for centuries.

Expatriate Musicians

Celia Cruz, Cuba to USA

Eartha Kitt, USA to France

Josephine Baker
USA to France

These women musicians were expatriates that moved to other countries because of injustices they, their families and friends experienced in the country of their origin. 


Miriam Makeba, South Africa to USA


Nina Simone, USA to France

  Joan Cartwright, Executive Director
Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc.

2801 S. Oakland Forest Drive, Suite 103, Oakland Park, FL 33309
954-740-3398   |   info@wijsf.org

Esperanza Spaulding on Alicia Keys, and her famous counterparts, "The industry has surrounded them with all of these superficial pyrotechnics and I think it's really sucked the life out of their creative spirit, and I find that really sad."

Other Amazing Bassists

Carline Ray

Kim Clarke


Congratulations to 2011 Grammy Winner - Esperanza Spaulding

Esperanza Spalding: Grammy Award 2011 Winner For Best New Artist

02/14/11- The Huffington Post/AP  

Esperanza Spalding may have won the Grammy for Best New Artist, but some have reveled in her talent for years. A 26-year old, classically trained jazz/chamber music fusion musician and singer, Spalding has been making headlines in the jazz world since before her 2006 debut solo album, "Junjo." Having attended the Berklee Academy of Music, where she immediately became a professor after graduating at 20 years old, she began to travel with well known jazz musicians -- and then, the President.

Showing prescient hipness, President Obama selected Spalding to perform at the Oslo City Hall when he accepted his 2009 Nobel Prize, as well as at a White House poetry jam. "Chamber Music Society" is actually her eighth overall album, including her teenage band and collaborations with famous jazz musicians. But she's still excited to be considered Best New Artist.

"I feel really lucky that I got to be acknowledged on this stage in front of so many people who hopefully will get to experience my music, and I got there by doing what's really dear to my heart," she told the AP after her win.

To earn the Grammy, she beat out an impressive field, including teen idol Justin Bieber, rapper Drake and band Florence + The Machine. Beliebers, as Bieber's are known, hacked into her Wikipedia page after the upset win, making changes such as saying she won, "even though no one has heard of her."

Clearly, that's not the case.

NEW YORK -- From the time Esperanza Spalding appeared on the scene in 2005, the dynamic singer, bassist, composer and arranger has been heralded as jazz's next big thing. Her impressive musicianship has won her White House recital dates, praise from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, and critical acclaim.

But last year, as she prepared to perform in front of a huge mainstream audience at a tribute to musical mentor Prince at the BET Awards, she started to think about how the moment could catapult her into pop stardom.

"I was really on this mission, kind of in my mind, to figure out how I was going to take my music and make it accessible to the pop world. `How am I going to turn this into like an Alicia Keys thing?'" she recalled thinking.

But when she got to rehearsals with her famous counterparts - including her idol Keys - she decided fame had somehow warped the purity of their artistry, and she didn't want that happening to her.

"Every person looked like a California raisin - this incredibly delicious, tasty, captivating artist, who has a magnificent magnetism and a unique flavor about what they do and who they are, but all of that has just been sucked out in every direction. The industry has surrounded them with all of these superficial pyrotechnics and I think it's really sucked the life out of their creative spirit, and I find that really sad," she said in an interview a few weeks after the ceremony.

"I decided that I was just happy to be a visitor from the liberated realm of jazz, and I decided then, whatever happens, I always want to be surveyor of the territory," said Spalding, who grew up studying classical music in Portland, Ore., before switching to jazz in her teens. "I want to be the one deciding what my art means, how it's presented, even if that means not becoming a pop superstar."

It turns out that being a surveyor has brought her closer to her discarded goal.

Spalding, who released her third album, "Chamber Music Society," last summer, is a surprise contender for best new artist at Sunday's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. She's competing against a field that includes Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine, Drake and perhaps the most pop of pop sensations, Justin Bieber. She's also set to perform on the show and host the Recording Academy's pre-telecast ceremony with Bobby McFerrin.

"It's exciting, I think it's inspiring for me. I guess I didn't realize that on a broader scale people were aware of my music," the 26-year-old said last month.

While popular audiences may just be getting to know Spalding, she's a star in the world of jazz. Her previous albums have been strong sellers and established her as the genre's bright future, and for good reason: She's a multifaceted performer. When she's not wowing audiences with a heavenly sounding soprano and scatting like the vets of old, she's impressing them with her bass playing (she also plays other instruments). So impressive were her musical gifts that after finishing the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston at an accelerated pace, she became an instructor there when she was 20, making her the college's youngest faculty member.

Spalding expected less mainstream attention for "Chamber Music Society," which blends her classical roots with her jazz world.

"It was really focused on composition and the intimacy of classical music and jazz-improvised music, and to me, that seems like it would be received by a smaller audience, yet there it is with a nomination on such a broad field," she said.

Spalding is perceived as a long shot to win best new artist, but Gil Goldstein, who co-produced "Chamber Music Society," is hopeful voters will recognize her unique gifts.

"I've been kind of joking, saying it would be nice that if once in a while, the best new artist would be someone who reads and writes (music)," he said, laughing.

"It would be like a real breakthrough victory if she would win, sort of like when Herbie won album of the year," he said, referring to Hancock's surprise win in 2008 for the album "River: The Joni Letters."

If the upset does happen, don't expect Spalding to alter her musical path. After her brief flirtation with wanting bigger stardom, she's more determined than ever that the most important thing she can do is make good music.

"The music that I make is pretty sincere; it's from my heart and I love it, and what just happened is more people have started to connect with my heart, and I haven't followed some kind of marketing scheme," she said.

And she hasn't let her Grammy nomination change her life, either.

"I'm going to buy a dress that I wouldn't have normally bought to go to the awards ceremony," she said, "(but) I still take the subway ... things are pretty much as they were before."

  Joan Cartwright, Executive Director
Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc.

Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc.

2801 S. Oakland Forest Drive, Suite 103, Oakland Park, FL 33309
954-740-3398   |   info@wijsf.org