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Gay and lesbian clubs in particular offer comfort zones for homosexuals until they are rudely awakened by an incident such as the one in February. Kuchuism has taken on a particular and vital importance to homosexuals in Uganda. Most of these act as support groups and very few are engaged in activist work to improve their status.

Moreover, the different groups are only tenuously connected, some sustaining their membership exclusively through cyberspace. Lesbians are especially active in the leadership of SMUG. However the organization is still riddled with the initial teething problems that all nascent movements face, aggravated in this case by the exceedingly hostile context within which it operates. Member organizations are still reluctant to speak out publicly and to take activist actions that would begin to crack the mold of heteronormativity.

The avoidance of public visibility by gay and lesbian organizations can also be explained by the severity of Ugandan law, which outlaws homosexuality and punishes it with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The question is: When will it be time? In particular, it has forced into the open the myths and secrets in relationships and identities that are often silenced or taken for granted.

Homosexuality represents one of the last bastions of legally backed and statesanctioned oppression and intolerance on the African continent. The discussion bulletin on the online edition of the newspaper New Vision logged an unprecedented number of postings on this topic. For over six months, a vigorous and continuing debate was sustained among members of the Ugandan educated elite who have access to the Internet.

In the context of this wider ambit, homophobia clearly becomes a gendered concern. By maintaining a regime of compulsory heterosexuality, the state seeks to enforce conventional gender relationships and identities and keep a stranglehold on public discourse about these topics. Postscript Compiled by Bianca A. Murillo The following is a copy of the February 5th, , New Vision newspaper report that initiated several of the verbal attacks on Sylvia Tamale for supporting homosexual rights.

Charles Ariko reports that Dr. Sylvia Tamale, who is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of 22 Bianca A. She was yesterday speaking at a consultative workshop on the draft principles for the establishment of the Equal Opportunities Commission EOC. Tamale said gays were recognised by international bodies as one of the marginalised groups. She said they should be recognised by the EOC which is to be set up under the Constitution. New Vision, February 5, It is no secret that the West and their puppets are doing all they can to train little children to be gays so as to have a following.

A number of single-sex boarding schools are known for this parents, watch out. If being gay is natural, why must innocent children be trained for this purpose? Testimonies have been given of priests using boys, not only in America, but even here, as has been alleged.

The Ministry of Education should probe this allegation. Secondly, to you Dr. Tamale, human rights activist living in Makerere, have you ever sought audience with the marginalised groups such as the disabled? Are you aware that law cases and other materials in your own faculty are not available in Braille and are therefore not easily accessed by those who are blind?

Do you know that some crippled students cannot have easy access to your own lecture rooms? Have you ever studied the plight of female and non-resident students in Makerere? What about those from war-torn areas? What have you, champion of human rights, done for such? After all, it is their right to preference. The Minister of Education should intervene in the issue of training gays in schools, seminaries and the like if we are to build for the future. What sin did women and the disabled persons commit?

They are also marginalised. In a statement sent to The New Vision, Tamale gave eight reasons why she supports the rights of homosexuals in Uganda. Charles Ariko New Vision, February 17, Whereas Sempa was surely informed about the subject, both Mwenda and Tamale had shockingly little knowledge on the 24 Bianca A. Murillo topic. The problem here is that Mwenda and Tamale think every issue is political. I expected Tamale as a professional to argue, for example, on how the anus is adopted to its function as a sexual organ so that homosexualism should be promoted.

Instead she resorted to politicking, listing the countries legalising the evil. To what purpose? So that we compare their contribution to the economic stability, political stability or what? She went on to make her own version of the Bible. Later, she resorted to personal attacks on Sempa, calling him a liar.

Homosexuals need the help of society. Couselling should be made available. Mwenda should also learn to be neutral. I think something has terribly gone wrong with our society. The other day a lawyer in Makerere advocated for scanty dressing, and when some members of the public slotted in comments in the media, he wrote back to say the problem with them was lack of understanding of the English language! Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind. Nathan Byamukama from the Uganda Human Rights Commission said homosexuality is not yet a human right in Uganda and it is therefore illegal. David Mafabi, political director of the Global Pan-African Movement, said debates on homosexuality had to be left to the whites who are believed to have started it.

Postscript 25 Sylvia Tamale, a Makerere University lecturer, recently said homosexuality should be regarded a human right. Fortunate Ahimbisibwe New Vision, February 25, It seems to me, that in our country today, we have many things to worry about. Who consenting adults choose to sleep with is not one of them.

Those who have chosen to equate homosexuality with paedophilia are being totally disingenuous in this debate. Gay rights and advocates have consistently argued for the recognition of the rights of adults to choose whom they wish to be their sexual partners—adult and consent, being the operative words here. This, in the context of sexual relations between adult men and women, is now widely recognised as a fundamental human rights.

Secondly, we need to take note of the fact that it is men of a heterosexual orientation, who are responsible for the vast majority of cases of sexual abuse against children, especially young girls. I am convinced that homosexuality is a natural state of human life.

And let us think, in practical terms, what this hatred and fear means. Those homosexuals and lesbians amongst us are forced to live in fear of ever being found out. This means in many cases, they were allowed to live their lives openly without fear of persecution? Whilst the world looked on, Uganda openly addressed this issue, and years later, this openness and acceptance, has assured Uganda a place at the forefront of the efforts to come to terms with the pandemic.

If it were up to me, Dr. Tamale and others like her, would be up for the highest award of recognition in the land, for their courage, conviction and commitment to the defence of the human rights of all, even when they are swimming against the tide of public opinion. The world would be a much safer and happier place if more of us were ready to stand up and speak out against narrow-mindedness. For such narrow-mindedness demeans us as a society. Sylvia Tamale, for advocating for homosexuality.

Murillo Ecweru said some top people in the district engaged in homosexuality and had abducted a boy who however escaped. He said the practice was against the rights of women and men to produce and raise children. John Thawite New Vision, March 12, At the beginning of February, Prof. Tamale spoke out in support of including sexual orientation as one of the grounds for non-discrimination in the proposed Equal Opportunities Commission legislation.

While Prof. Tamale has therefore been waging an almost single-handed struggle, through making public appearances, issuing statements to newspapers and speaking on radio talk shows, to establish the status of gay rights as a human rights concern.

New Vision, one of the daily online Ugandan newspaper[s], has received numerous homophobic comments on the raging topic, as well as personalised attacks on Tamale, such as the following: It is disgusting to hear learned women like Dr. Tamale demand for the rights of homosexuals. First of all we have to sympathise with some of these people because sometimes they are guided Postscript 27 by poverty rather than reason.

You remember Bishop Senyonjo. It was found out that he was only making noise to get some money from Western donors who are keen on spreading their disease. Tamale has now decided to follow suit. Please Tamale you can do better than that. I think Sylvia Tamale must have been a sissy in her secondary school days or somewhere in University. That woman must be a great sympathiser of sissies!! We have no place for deviants!!! If the media stories are true in regard to the comments Dr.

Sylvia Tamale made in regard to homosexuality, then I am disappointed in some of the so-called elite people of Uganda. How dare a woman of Dr. If Dr. The commission will assist in the integration of marginalised groups into the wider society and the protection of their rights. First, of course, it would be the homosexuals. New Vision, February 5, , 3.

See section of the Ugandan Penal Code. So far, I have interviewed approximately sixty male and female kuchus. Murillo 7. A handful of feminists sent me private e-mails in support of my position, but only one wrote to the media in support; see Mukasa References Clark, Wendy. London: Virago Press. Driberg, Jack Herbert.

The Lango. London: Thorner Coryndon. Faupel, John Francis. New York: P. Feminist Review, ed. Sexuality: A Reader. Laurance, Jeremy C. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mukasa, Sarah. Murray, Stephen O. New York: St. Mushanga, Musa T. Molnos, — Nairobi: East African Publishing House. Needham, Rodney. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Southwold, Martin. Tamale, Sylvia. That rhetoric was carried into the design of the new state: new institutions were expected to address issues of gender inequality, and at every level, the new government would examine the impact of policies on gender relations, seeking to address the sources of gender inequality. Independent and powerful, staffed by energetic and committed feminists with a strong commitment to challenging the bases of gender inequality, it appeared to offer remarkable promise for feminist intervention at its inception in Four years later, however, many of the feminists who helped construct the commission were far more pessimistic.

Unclear about its goals, immobilized by internal dissent, the commission appeared to have reached a virtual stalemate. What had undermined the feminist possibility embodied in the Gender Commission structure? Why did a project so full of promise lose steam so quickly? Nationalist movements arriving in power have often promised to give women greater access and representation but have repeatedly failed to follow through Molyneux ; Stacey Does South Africa represent just an- other case of a nationalist movement subsuming feminist goals to a nationbuilding project?

Does feminist rhetoric simply mask patriarchal intent, where male leaders claim to support gender equality but fail to provide resources or power to attain it? But there were other questions too. Should feminist policymakers articulate demands for women within existing gender relations or should they try to articulate a challenge to existing inequalities? These tensions were neither abstract nor theoretical: they were built into the very structures of the state.

Constructing a Gendered State Over the past twenty years, feminist scholars have paid increasing attention to issues of institutional design. But there is little agreement on what these institutions should look like, beyond a basic sense that whatever institutions are built in the present may shape the way gender issues are understood in the future Pringle and Watson Case studies offer two models of feminist institutions.

In advanced industrial societies, feminist institutions tend to emphasize representation and voice, giving women new access to policymaking bodies through independent commissions or ombudspersons Gatens ; Stetson and Mazur In postcolonial settings, on the other hand, feminist organizations and institutions tend to be oriented toward mobilizing women to participate in national development Molyneux ; Staudt ; Macaulay During the negotiated transition, starting from the release of political prisoners and unbanning of political parties, feminist activists managed to insert gender concerns into the national political arena, insisting that if these issues were postponed until later, the new state would probably mirror other new democracies, recreating gender inequality by treating women as mothers and wives rather than as full citizens.

Especially because they united women activists across the political spectrum, these activists managed to make gender concerns visible to such an extent that during the elections all parties made special appeals to women voters. To watch over the whole process, the Constitution created the Commission on Gender Equality. One of several horizontal bodies designed to simultaneously monitor and stimulate transformation in South African society, the Gender Commission stands independent of the South African government while remaining part of it.

As in many other new democracies, a negotiated transition meant that change would be slow and gradual. Government departments continued as usual, often staffed by apartheid-era civil servants. New ministers had to rely heavily on the civil servants already in place for information and policy implementation.

Among these horizontal structures, the Commission on Gender Equality enjoyed remarkable visibility and unusual powers. With a broad mandate, its powers include the right to subpoena witnesses and evidence and the right to intervene in both public and private sites. Drawing on feminist scholarship and international experience, South African activists were able to build into the Constitution an institutional framework that could empower feminist voices in the state.

In a context where a new democratically elected government is committed to principles of equality and nondiscrimination, the Gender Commission structure offered real possibilities for addressing the underlying dynamics of gender inequality. The regulations for the Gender Commission require that Parliament nominate and the president appoint activists with strong records of commitment to gender equity. Of the initial group of appointed commissioners, seven were women with strong backgrounds in political activism; the eighth, a man, was a progressive Muslim theologian explicitly committed to feminist activism.

When Mtintso left the commission, she was replaced by Joyce Piliso-Seroke, who was appointed chairperson in In interviews, however, PilisoSeroke was careful to distinguish her current work from her earlier role, insisting that the Gender Commission must address broader issues than just organizing women. By mid34 Gay W. Recognizing uneven levels of background in feminist thought among commissioners and staff members, the commission required attendance at a three-week course in gender issues, with topics ranging from reproductive rights and sexuality to the construction of masculinity.

While the staff and commissioners continued to debate the outlines of the project—including some basic issues, such as whether the commission should be primarily a monitoring body or whether it would also engage directly in more programmatic activities or what the relationship should be between politically appointed commissioners and the staff people who worked under them—the commissioners and staff recognized that they were engaged in a remarkable experiment in strategic feminist intervention.

Representing Women The challenge facing the Gender Commission was from its inception two-sided. Because commissioners are not elected, there is little direct accountability to a broader constituency. No obvious structural mechanisms existed through which the commission could debate positions before they were taken publicly by any appointed commissioners. Commissioners and staff members seemed to voice issues of importance to them as individuals, either because of their personal experience or because of their theoretical understanding of the bases of gender inequality.

The commission was designed to allow democratic input through individual complaints and through provincial workshops. Under this model, comInstitutional Dilemmas 37 missioners would serve as independent monitors and ombudspersons to ensure that government programs do not persistently reproduce gender inequality. But when the commission tried to create channels through which ordinary women could articulate their concerns—through individual complaints and through regional workshops—the concerns that were expressed were often far removed from a broader feminist project.

Sometimes suggestions simply asked the commission to intervene to help women within an existing set of gender relations; sometimes they took the commission far from what might normally be considered a central concern for feminist policymakers. Individual complaints tended to remain completely within an existing framework of gender relations instead of raising concerns that feminists had not already considered. Gender Commission staff found themselves at a loss. While the commission supported efforts to propose reforms in the maintenance system, activists in the social welfare ministry and NGOs focusing on child support issues were clearly better equipped for dealing with the intricacies of reform proposals.

Although staff people took individual complaints very seriously, trying to suggest avenues where complainants might get help, they increasingly began to view complaints as a potential source of test cases. This meant, in practice, that there was active searching for potential cases on issues for which the commission sought to mobilize support and promote reforms.

Commission staff members sought out the widows, hoping to use the case to test legislation regarding inheritance in customary marriages, seeking to create more safeguards for the millions of African women in unregistered polygamous households. Thus, the 38 Gay W. Seidman individual complaint provided the basis for a test case, but along reformist lines that the commission had already envisaged.

Similarly, irregularly scheduled provincial workshops were meant to provide channels for public access. In , the commission spent an inordinate amount of resources and energy organizing programs in the Northwest Province, responding to frenzied attacks on people whom villagers believed were involved in black magic. Helping the victims of witchcraft violence was certainly a worthwhile effort, but more than half of the victims of the attacks were male. Most analyses of the witchcraft violence of the Northwest Province point to tensions arising from rapid economic dislocation, not gender transgressions Comaroff and Comaroff a, b.

By mid, many staff members argued that other branches of government were better suited for intervening on behalf of the victims than the relatively small Gender Commission, whose resources might be better spent on programs more directly related to gender equity.

Although the commission greeted the suggestion with excitement, as if it were a spontaneous suggestion, in fact, the idea was generated within the commission. When a local politician asked the commission to write his speech opening the workshop, a commission staff member inserted the proposal that the Gender Commission should monitor a new job creation program in the province. In conversations and interviews, commissioners and staff people acknowledged that public support for feminism is far weaker in South Africa than public statements imply, and they viewed mobilizing support for a new understanding of gender relations as a primary goal.

But this emphasis on mobilizing support for feminism often created internal tensions. While some commissioners and staff members argued that the commission should be a voice for theoretically informed feminism, others worried that if the commission took controversial positions, it might be marginalized in the public eye.

Some disillusioned staff members suggested that commissioners who sought to avoid controversy were hoping to advance their individual careers within the government, viewing a noncontroversial term as a Gender Commissioner as a stepping-stone to further government appointments. In contrast, several commissioners saw avoiding controversy as a principled stance, an effort to ensure that the feminist project retained political support within the ANC and the government. Because public support for feminist goals was shallow, several commissioners suggested, the Gender Commission would be wise to demonstrate that strategic feminist interventions could improve the lives of all South Africans instead of pursuing goals that might divide women from men or older women from younger ones.

Sustaining popular support in the present would be a critical step in giving popular legitimacy to feminist policies in the future. In general, consensus could only be reached in relation to issues directly relevant to African women living in rural areas. For example, the commission was far more active in public debates about how to reform the laws governing customary marriages, under which most African women are married, and in ensuring that job creation and economic development programs include women than it was in challenging the corporate glass ceiling.

When some staff members proposed a campaign to decriminalize sex work, several commissioners objected strenuously. The debate over sex work seems to have marked the limits of internal tolerance. Opponents of decriminalization clearly viewed sex workers in strongly moralistic terms, rejecting efforts to describe sex work in terms of gendered poverty and vulnerability rather than individual choice. Indeed, when proponents of decriminalization suggested that decriminalization might well help poor rural women because they might turn to sex work for lack of alternatives, an angry commissioner responded that such a stance implied that all African women were prostitutes.

Like many other issues involving sexuality, including reproductive rights and HIV prevention, the decriminalization debate appears to have been too uncomfortable for the commission to pursue it. The structural tension between trying to pursue feminist interventions while mobilizing a broad constituency—all while trying to privilege the concerns of a target group of poor women in rural areas—contributed in large measure to the stalemate that plagued the Gender Commission in mid The academics and NGO professionals, black and white, who have generally articulated feminist issues are almost entirely urban and middle class.

In mid, a legal NGO called a meeting to discuss child welfare reform proposals. Commission staff members attended the meeting, but they told participants they were there to listen and learn. An energetic Gender Commission staffer offered to photocopy materials, but the activists were 42 Gay W.

By mid, many feminist scholars and NGO activists, black and white, openly expressed a sense of alienation from the very institution they had helped design, criticizing the commission publicly to journalists and even going so far in private conversations as to suggest that the government should consider cutting its funding.

In the fraught relationship between the Gender Commission and South African feminist activists, the structural tension between representation and mobilization was almost tangible. As committed feminists turned away from new state structures in frustration, the Gender Commission became increasingly isolated and embattled.

New appointments to the commission, combined with renewed efforts by feminist activists to reengage with the commission, seemed to reinfuse energy into gender policy discussions. Several strong feminist activists were appointed to the commission, giving it greater credibility within activist feminist circles and helping rebuild its links to already mobilized feminists.

By rebuilding links with feminist activists, reconstructing working relationships within the commission and between the commission and non-state feminists, the commission seemed to be seeking new directions. In the construction of the Gender Commission, feminist activists sought to create an independent body that would have the power to intervene in basic gender relations, an institution that would simultaneously monitor new government policies, provide feminists access to government policymaking processes, and ensure that gender issues could be raised throughout South African society.

As part of the effort to mobilize 44 Gay W. But the experiences of the Gender Commission underscore the institutional challenges facing feminist policymakers, as they feel themselves forced to choose between representation, mobilization, or both. Of course, that choice may ultimately prove to be a false one. The stalemate at the Gender Commission in mid may demonstrate that it is not entirely possible to distinguish the task of feminist representation within the state from the effort to mobilize popular support.

Perhaps feminist interventions are by nature controversial: inevitably, they challenge basic gender relations, inequality, and power. A longer version of this essay was originally published in Feminist Studies 29, no. Interview with Joyce Piliso-Seroke, June Turner ; interviews by author, There are, of course, some exceptions. In , the complaints of a young man who had been raped in prison prompted commission efforts to get legislative wording changed to make male as well as female rape a legal offense.

Interviews with author, See Seidman Turner ; interviews with author, References Albertyn, Catherine. Alexander, M. Jacqui, and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. Comaroff, Jean, and John Comaroff. Commission on Gender Equality.

Mission Statement. Gatens, Moira. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hassim, Shireen. Kaplan, Temma. Crazy for Democracy: Women in Grassroots Movements. Mabandla, Brigitte. Macaulay, Fiona. Durham, N. Molyneux, Maxine. Seidman edited by Elizabeth Dore and Maxine Molyneux, — Mtintso, Thenjiwe.

The South African Experience. Pringle, Rosemary, and Sophie Watson. Sapiro, Virginia. The Problem of Political Representation of Women. Seidman, Gay W. Stacey, Judith. Patriarchy and Socialist Revolution in China. Berkeley: University of California Press. Staudt, Kathleen. West Hartford, Conn. Stetson, Dorothy, and Amy Mazur, eds. Comparative State Feminism. Thousand Oaks, Calif. Turner, Nicole. As second-wave feminists, they sought to challenge sexist ideologies that situated women exclusively in the domestic realm and reduced their social roles to their biological capacities.

For these reasons and for fear of contributing to racist stereotypes dating back to the era of the slave trade that depicted African women as oversexed and exceptionally fertile, they avoided examining the more intimate aspects of reproduction. Amadiume and Oyewumi argued that Western feminists had fundamentally misunderstood African societies.

In Politics of the Womb: Women, Reproduction, and the State in Kenya , I examine colonial and postcolonial debates and interventions surrounding abortion, female initiation and excision, premarital pregnancy, childbirth, and paternity support. While reproduction has been a central political and moral concern in twentieth-century central Kenya, its meanings have continually been contested and consistently linked to both gender and generational relations.

Rather, these questions have been part of broader debates over how to prepare female bodies and minds for procreation and how to ensure that their fertility contributes to the composition of wealth, not immiseration and misfortune. Admittedly, my material does not directly address the precolonial period. Yet the range and intensity of debates over abortion, female initiation, bridewealth, childbirth, premarital pregnancy, courtship, and marriage in colonial and postcolonial Africa suggest to me that the intimate relationship between gender ideologies and procreative processes—what I would call gendered reproduction—has deep historical roots in this part of the world, as it does in others.

Colonialism, through its racist and sexist ideologies and institutions, no doubt, challenged and ultimately transformed the politics of reproduction within Africa. My interest in schoolgirl pregnancy stems from my previous work on the history of reproductive politics in Kenya and a new project on the history of the Modern Girl in a number of different sub-Saharan African contexts. Whereas my earlier research engaged key concerns in Africanist scholarship on gender and women, concerns that have been articulated by the likes of Hunt, Amadiume, Oyewumi, and Mikell, my new project seeks to bring these concerns into conversation with those generated through my participation in the Modern Girl Research Group.

My initial investigations suggest that for much of sub-Saharan Africa, the Modern Girl has been synonymous with the schoolgirl and graduate. They have also highlighted the dashed dreams, stymied investments, and unanticipated dilemmas embodied in her being.

This chapter seeks to place these contemporary concerns in historical perspective by suggesting how the timing and social circumstances surrounding conception and birth have long been a concern to parents and young people and the communities in which they live. Present-day concerns over schoolgirl 50 Lynn M.

Thomas pregnancies belong to a long and broad history of gendered and generational struggles over health, wealth, and power. I will focus on two aspects of this longer and broader history. Keeping with the transdisciplinary spirit of this volume, I use historical evidence to make arguments that share the concern of structuralist anthropology with persistent social forms and the attention of literary studies to archetypes.

Schoolgirl Pregnancies and Pre-Initiation Pregnancies Many of the reproductive debates and interventions I have examined took place in Meru, a rural area encompassing the northeastern slopes of Mt. Kenya and the surrounding plains. Initiation began only after a girl had passed puberty and, ideally, had become betrothed. Excision was followed by a seclusion of three or more months during which older women cared for initiates, feeding them large amounts of food and instructing them about how to behave in their future roles as wives and daughters-in-law.

Female initiation required parents, neighbors, and kin to pool enormous amounts of material resources so initiates and others who participated in the celebrations could feast on meat, porridge, and beer. As women interviewed in the s explained, a being conceived under such circumstances was not a proper person. If born and allowed to live, it would endanger the lives of kin and neighbors, bringing misfortune and even death. Pregnancy and birth did not belong to girls but to those who had become women through initiation.

In discussing this belief, one Methodist missionary, who worked in Meru during the s, explained that people viewed children as a link between themselves and their ancestors; ancestors cursed children conceived by uninitiated girls in order to express their anger at those girls for becoming pregnant before they had been consecrated to do so Holding The most common remedies for curbing the destructive potential of pre-initiation pregnancies were abortion and, when that failed, infanticide.

Those whose boyfriends refused to marry them often married older men as second or third wives. Nandi who lived in the Rift Valley area of colonial Kenya also believed that pregnancies conceived by uninitiated girls posed grave moral dangers. These accounts of severe condemnation of pre-initiation pregnancies suggest how in late precolonial and early colonial contexts, if not earlier, many Africans viewed initiation as an indispensable process for readying girls for conception and childbirth.

Such insights raise a number of important issues about the relationships between initiation, schooling, and pregnancy. In s Meru, I found that older women who had rejected female initiation for their daughters often explained their decision by stating that while in their youth they had eagerly anticipated the celebrations that initiation entailed and the status it conferred, girls today rightly direct their attention and enthusiasm toward schooling.

Today, 52 Lynn M. Thomas many girls attend school and undergo initiation. Schooling also departs from initiation in appearing to offer more room for negotiating which pregnancies are socially viable. With pre-initiation pregnancies in Meru, at least, the fact of whether one was initiated or not determined whether a pregnancy was acceptable or problematic. It can span many years and conclude at various points. Moreover, not all schoolgirl pregnancies end in abortion or infanticide.

To better understand the possible continuities and disjunctures between social condemnation of pre-initiation and schoolgirl pregnancies, we need to know more about why some schoolgirls have accepted motherhood while others have not.

To understand the relationship between pre-initiation and schoolgirl pregnancies, we must also identify the disparities obscured by analogies drawn between the two processes. In her ethnography of schooling, Amy Stambach considers why so many people in s northern Tanzania talked about initiation as a form of schooling.

This point is important because it focuses attention on what such analogies obscure. Initiation has sought to ground people in local hierarchies rooted in maturity, bravery, wealth, and seniority. Such examination should further elucidate the material concerns and moral ambitions that both link and differentiate pre-initiation and schoolgirl pregnancies. Over time, central Kenyan parents certainly became more accustomed to the idea of sending their daughters to school and to Nairobi for training.

Such insights are crucial to understanding why HIV infection is disproportionately high among girls and young women. In many parts of Eastern and Southern Africa, females between the ages of 15 and 24 are more than twice or even three times as likely as their male counterparts to be infected. Thomas are more inclined to have older sexual partners who are better able to provide them with food, clothes, and cash to pay school fees and support their families.

The act proved extremely controversial. As one MP put it: We are all fathers and we have daughters. In the rural areas, Mr. Speaker, we have case after case where a school master has made a school girl pregnant, we have heard of these cases. We have heard of cases where a county council clerk, or a district commissioner himself, have made school girls pregnant. I think we have a big danger there because without some form of protection we might regret this later on.

Yet as far as I know, neither the Kenyan nor the Tanzanian government has ever introduced such a law. On the one hand, politicians and parents recognize schoolgirls as a uniquely valued group of females requiring special protecGendered Reproduction 55 tions. On the other, some schoolgirls engage in activities that place them dangerously close to that group of females deemed most undeserving, prostitutes.

In central Kenya, since the middle of the twentieth century, at least, pregnancies have often encouraged couples to marry. Based on his work in and around the Methodist hospital at Maua Meru during the s, Dr.

Stanley Bell observed that among initiates it was fairly common to become pregnant and then to quickly marry. Marriage promises could quickly turn a schoolgirl pregnancy or the pregnancy of an unmarried school graduate from a disturbing predicament to the beginning of new and valued familial relations. In s Meru, it was rare to attend a wedding between a school-educated bride and groom at which the bride was not visibly pregnant or the couple did not already have a child together.

Examination of pregnancy compensation law suits from s and s in central Kenya similarly revealed how out-of-wedlock pregnancies could prompt couples to marry. Court records suggest that such suits often represented one phase in a protracted set of social negotiations aimed at transforming a reproductive quandary into marriage Thomas , chapter 4. Thus, some premarital pregnancies—if appropriately timed and well received by all parties—have embodied nuptial promise rather than sexual promiscuity.

Ideologies of who and what is male and female have also been intimately linked to efforts to ensure proper generational relations and secure material wealth. Concerns over schoolgirl pregnancies, like those over pre-initiation pregnancies, have stemmed from the principle that reproductive entitlement is achieved through educating minds, disciplining bodies, and repaying parental investments. The pregnancies of young unmarried women who have ignored this principle have often resulted in abortion or infanticide.

But schoolgirl pregnancies appear to have embodied greater ambiguity than preinitiation ones. The very fact of moving outside their homes and attending schools, often staffed by men, has offered girls and young women the possibility of joining broader and, in many cases, more promising and permissive social worlds.

At the same time, such possibilities could leave them vulnerable to sexual predation and endanger familial reputations and investments. In The Invention of Women , Oyewumi ultimately grants Euro-American colonizers tremendous agency by arguing that they introduced gender difference in a place where it was previously unknown. The existence of processes of male and female initiation in so many parts of the continent suggests to me that anatomic distinctions have often been a basis for generating elaborate and complex ideologies of gender difference.

Historians and social scientists need to elucidate how gender concerns in contemporary Africa derive from previous centuries of both African and European history. Political projects of colonization, modernization, and, more recently, globalization have wrought profound changes in gender categories and hierarchies across sub-Saharan Africa.

The gender and reproductive concerns they have introduced have vied and combined with those that already existed on the continent. Schoolgirl pregnancies, I would argue, Gendered Reproduction 57 generate so much controversy in the contemporary period precisely because they resonate with long-standing notions about the dangers of reproduction gone awry at the same time that they can be easily evoked to epitomize all that is wrong with the modern day.

Hunt goes a long way toward correcting this silence. Social anthropology came of age in Africa through studies of kinship and marriage. Our group is indebted to the generous support we have received from various sources at the University of Washington, most notably the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities and the Graduate School.

The colonial government designated the territory northeast of Mt. Because of its great distance from Nairobi and the railway lines, Meru was the last section of the central highlands to come under a colonial authority. For an account of colonial efforts to prevent pre-initiation pregnancies and stop abortion, see Thomas , —, and , chapter 1.

Dobbs, Ag. Also see McKittrick , —, esp. For instance, see Nypan , 39—65 ; Shuma , — ; Walley , — ; and Stambach , 76— For anthropological studies that have explored such decision making during the s, see Johnson-Hanks , — and Stambach Ogden ; Kielmann ; Schoepf , — ; Setel For a more extended analysis of this law, see Thomas , — Kenya, National Assembly Debates, June 10—17, , —80, , , and For instance, see Vellenga , 77— ; and Thomas , — Also see Rwebangira , 87— ; and Rwebangira , — Bell , ; also see Dr.

Both in National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. Amelsvoort, Vincent van, comp. Medical Anthropology in African Newspapers. Oosterhout, Netherlands: Anthropological Publications. Baltzaar, G. Stover, T. Okeyo, B. Hagembe, R. Mutemi, and C.

Olola, eds. Bell, Stanley. Part 1. Geographical and Ethnological Background. Bledsoe, Caroline, and Barney Cohen. Feldman-Savelsberg, Pamela. Holding, Mary E. Hunter, Mark. Johnson-Hanks, Jennifer. Kielmann, Karina. Inhorn and Peter J. Brown, — Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach Publishers. Laughton, W. Lema, Valentino M. A Review of Abortion in Kenya. Nairobi: The Centre for the Study of Adolescence. Lonsdale, John. Thomas and Africa, vol. Nairobi: Heinemann.

Unpublished manuscript, Boston University Library. Magona, Sindiwe. Mother to Mother. Boston: Beacon Press. McKittrick, Meredith. Mikell, Gwendolyn. Poiger, Priti Ramamurthy, Lynn M. Thomas, and Alys Eve Weinbaum. Mwangi, Meja. Striving for the Wind. Nypan, Astrid. Stolen and M. Vaa, 39— Oslo: Norwegian University Press. Ogden, Jessica.

Orde Browne, G. Puja, Grace Khwaya, and Tuli Kassimoto. Richards, Audrey. Rogo, K. Bohmer, and C. Rwebangira, Magdalena Kamugisha. Stockholm: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. Gendered Reproduction 61 Schapera, Isaac. Schoepf, Brooke Grundfest. Setel, Philip W. Shuma, Mary. Stambach, Amy. Oxford: Clarendon. Thomas, Lynn M. Daily Nation Kenya , October Arlington, Va. Vellenga, D. Walley, Christine. White, Luise. What are the highlights, the joys, and the tribulations of conducting research on our own people?

Who owns African knowledge and, most important, how have we as African gender historians navigated our various research environments? First, what does it means to be African? Second, what does Africa and especially Nigeria mean to me? And third, how do I choose to locate and name myself? Only last do I name myself Nigerian. Being black does not even enter into the equation, since race has never been a distinguishing category in Africa.

Therefore, Igbo is who I am, it is my culture, it is my worldview, it is the way I think, the way I speak, the way I write, and the way I dream. But a big part of my Igbo identity is also shaped by being a woman. This African identity of mine is certainly more pronounced than my Nigerian identity—a feeling that is reinforced every day as a somewhat displaced person who has lived most of her life in the United States. Nigerian nationalism for me has thus evolved into an acquired taste—something like the bittersweet taste of an udala fruit—initially overwhelming your taste buds with a sweetness as pure as honey and then just as quickly slapping you with a bitterness that extends almost to the pit of your stomach.

My relationship with Nigeria has been much like that udala fruit. As many times as Nigeria has made me proud, she has just as surely made me want to dig the ground and bury myself in shame. Through thick and thin, Nigeria has remained a country that I identify with and one that has most surely shaped my identity—the who and what I am. Certainly because my relationship with Africa and Nigeria and the fact that I am Igbo shapes in a profound way what I am willing to do or not do when it comes to research.

It shapes, rightly or wrongly, how I identify with my research collaborators—a fact that has a direct effect on what I choose to write about and my interpretation of data—as well as my notions of accountability. And as an Igbo woman conducting research on Igbo women and gender, I feel accountable to my research collaborators because not only do I identify myself with Igboland, my home community, I also recognize that no matter what, I will return home!

Bridget Teboh When I think of my Africanness as an identity, several questions come up. For example, what is Africa? Is it merely a geographic location or also a construct of varying images and impressions and contested meanings? What does it mean to be African? What does Africa mean to me? Who am I, and how do I position myself within this construct? Since the late s, when those arbitrary boundaries were imposed on various ethnic, cultural, and language groups in Africa, Africa has witnessed a creation of new labels.

Additionally, these transformations created a close bond, a connection with all sons and daughters of Africa—a connection that is even more binding for Africans living outside continental Africa as we become sisters and brothers in struggle or in self-exile. There is an assumption that all black people in and outside continental Africa have accepted their Africanness and thus are happy to be called Africans.

Most of us indeed know that we are Africans and have acknowledged it as an identity. Some have adopted African names and names of African countries as proof of their Africanness, but others have not. What region of the world has no problems? I suggest that Africa should be seen not only as an identity but as a critical perspective, 64 Nwando Achebe and Bridget Teboh one that allows us to raise questions such as Whose Africa?

Who named Africa and why? My own Africanness is a huge part of who I am: one among many daughters and sons of Mother Africa. My belief system, my culture, my worldview is Moghamo. It determines the way that I speak, write, eat, and dress.

Similarly, my Moghamo identity is shaped by the fact that I am a woman. My world as a Moghamo woman is different from that of a Moghamo man—my expectations and the expectations that Moghamoland has of me, my stance, my behavior and mannerisms as well as the way in which I am socialized all make me especially female. My Cameroonian identity is often challenged by existing AnglophoneFrancophone problems.

Despite economic decline in recent years and extreme dissatisfaction with the current Biya administration,7 Cameroon still holds a special place in my heart. Cameroon is home to me and is where the rest of my family lives. Cameroon represents the one place I can always return to whenever I want, no questions asked.

She is an important place especially now for all of us Cameroonians living abroad in times of such uncertainty and fast-changing immigration policies in the United States and elsewhere. For instance, what if U. Then at least we will have a home to return to. My anxiety stems from the following questions that nag continuously at me: What am I supposed to do? What do people expect of me? My pride, on the other hand, stems from the realization that I occupy a privileged position and that I can do something to make possible change in the way African women have been represented.

This privileged position is enabled by the hybridity of my circumstance as an African woman scholar born and raised in Africa and now living abroad. That hybridity connects me to Mother Africa and yet sets me apart. In my work, I set out to examine how women in Moghamoland reacted to and coped with the radical changes that they and their community underwent from around to Teboh Nwando Achebe Elsewhere I have taken myself through an honest process of self-naming Achebe I described my positionality as one of a relative insider—relative to the men and women who entrusted me with their stories.

However, Nigeria is made up of over different ethnic groups whose members speak different languages and have different cultures. The Igbos number over 28 million and are divided into eastern, northern, southern, and western geographical and political enclaves, each speaking a distinct dialect. I would estimate that there are over 50 different Igbo dialects in all.

Ogidi and Akwa—the natal towns of my father and mother, for instance—are both important towns in southern Igboland that occupy a land mass that is separated by thirty kilometers at best. The difference in dialects between people who originate from these areas is, however, quite remarkable. Here the difference in dialects between these two groups is more pronounced.

However because these groups live in such close proximity to one another, comprehension between both groups remains relatively easy. The same is not true with regard to southern and northern Igbos, however. Northern Igbos, on the other hand, repeat the phrase ala, deje. Now even an untrained eye can see quite clearly that these two Igbo dialects have little in common. So why this mini exercise in linguistics?

It was important to bolster my belief that far from being a mere insider, my positionality in relation to my research environment is much more problematic. I am certainly, linguistically speaking, an outsider to some extent,11 but alas, dialect is not all that sets me apart from my research collaborators. But that is not all. In fact, the only times that I encountered gender discrimination were not in the traditional setting of collecting oral histories in the villages but in a formal research setting of the Nigerian National Archives and a faculty seminar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Competition winners January 16, Here are the randomly selected competition winners! You always come through and make it lots of fun! There were a lot of suggestions. Some of you had more than one. And all these titles came from both Denmark and elsewhere. Some people from non-Danish speaking countries even tried coming up with something in Danish even though they were allowed to do it in English. And actually some didn't really know what they were writing, which is kind of interesting.

In order for everyone to get something out of the answers given your webmaster have taken the liberty of translating the non-English titles into English it wasn't easy! You're all a bunch of little poets out there, aren't you? And then there are those naughty ones who - like Henriette did on the last album - started inventing new words you bastards, ha-ha! The winners will receive the "Siamesisk" live EP once it's released mid-February maybe even a little before. Manager Jesper Majdall has send the cover for the new orchestral live EP.

Morningside Records write on their website that they will release it as a cd digipack limited to copies. American music website Pitchfork writes that the same EP released by the band's Canadian label Paper Bag Records also will be limited to copies. So concluding from this information it seems there are two cd editions probably identical and a vinyl version on the horizon.

When there's more news on this it will be posted here, of course. The Reading page was updated with two books. All the many weblinks on that page have not been checked or updated, though. It's a really nice EP on pink vinyl with energetic drumming and vocals by Stine from when she was part of this trio some years ago.

They actually got a MySpace page now. But there's only one song from the 7-inch on there. There's a really catchy "pop" remix, though. X-massy new year's competition December 22, It's been a bit quiet on this site for a while. And also about time to have the annual competition if we want to squeeze it in to It will be released on February, but will be shipped to the winners as soon as it's in the hands of manager Jesper Majdall.

This nice fella handed your webmaster a cd-r copy the other day and it sounds mighty fine and biiig! The tracklist goes as follows: 1. Plantage 2. Af samme stof som stof 3. Siamesisk 4. Norman Records just reviewed it and singled out Sara Saxild's duo The Sad Lovers and called their song "divine" to which your webmaster can only agree.

You can read that here. And what should you do in order to get your hands on this? It's becoming increasingly difficult to come up with challenges, so this year it might seem a bit silly. But silly can be fun! Your title of a hypothetical Under Byen song. Yes, it's not like the band has asked me to do this, but just write your suggestion for a new song title for a song they haven't already written. Be creative, have fun! If you're Danish write it in Danish, and if you're not, then feel free to do so in English if you don't feel comfortable enough with Danish.

You can check out the Lyrics page for inspiration if you want. The winner will be randomly chosen among the suggestions, but I hope you will play along. Have a merry christmas and a happy new year! New compilation with Under Byen "sideprojects" December 2, A double cd compilation featuring three tracks by Under Byen members together with other musicians.

The compilation contains over two and half hours of music on a total of 44 tracks. Canadian singer Wendy McNeill who supported Under Byen on their big tour of Denmark in the fall of is also on it with a new track. And yes, your webmaster here actually also snuck a track in there under the name Resident Tourist.

Plenty of other great songs from artists from 10 different countries can be heard on it. You can read more about the release at the cd's page on the SOPA website. Very soon a website dedicated to the compilation will be up at www. For now you can see the full tracklist and listen to a preview of some of the tracks there. The YouTube preview can also be viewed below the cd-cover on the right of this text.

Here is some information on the Under Byen-related tracks on the cd:. The song "My Man" is a slow and warm stripped down song with great vocal harmonies. The song is an acoustic song to begin with, but turns into a rather grandiose creature with drums and much else by the end.

So if you're on that site you can go here for some of that action. There's also an artist page for the band here. EnnaBella festival this weekend November 15, Read more at www. Discography updated October 23, Both have therefore been added to the Discography.

So has to older French compilations that turned up. All acts ready for Sara's and Stine's festival October 22, And this webmaster is not the one to argue with that. Below you can see the full line-up with links for websites with sound and information. Harpcore DEN - A mix of classical harp music with pop and electronica.

Taxi Taxi! SWE - Fragile indie pop from the young twin sisters. Rockettothesky NOR - Peculiar pop voice in a magical sound universe. To check out the festival's schedule go to www. There you will also find info about the workshop for young female musicians that's also part of the festival. Photographer puts Under Byen on book cover October 21, Photographer Morten Larsen not the band's drummer who did the frontpage photo session of Under Byen for the magazine Gaffa has made a book.

You can read more about it at Gaffa's webshop and also order it from there. The price is DKK roughly 40 euro. For those it might interest: some live videos and a bunch of really nice black and white photos by everpresent Mr. Jint are now online. Here they performed with a lot of other acts of which there are also videos and photos. Go here to see all that. Stine and Sara organize music festival in Aarhus September 19, So far three acts are confirmed: Taxi Taxi!

The rest of the programme is under wraps for now. But it will probably be a very interesting selection of exciting acts. Yes, four great gals with superb taste in music is putting all this together in one of the nicest places in Aarhus.

So, all you need to know is If you want to read a bit more before that you can visit: www. Interview book with Henriette published September 18, The book with these conversations - a total of seven - has now been published. DR writes about the book here.

There you can also see the photographs of all the interviewees. DR's own website has the book for sale here , but it will most likely also be available through regular bookstores in Denmark. Danish tour starts tomorrow September 12, Tomorrow Thursday Under Byen play the first of six gigs on their small Danish autumn tour.

These are the dates: September Stars, Vordingborg. September Store Vega, Copenhagen. Orchestral live EP to be released September 10, Morningside Records and some webzines have announced that the live recordings done with The Danish Radio Sinfonietta back in April of this year will get an official release.

The recordings have been mixed so they sound better than the original live broadcast and webcast. More good news: it will be available both on cd and vinyl. Further news: Anders Stochholm will be part of the touring band with Lars H. Live dates on this site. You can read much more about the show at Sopa. Nils and Oliver performed together earlier this year in Copenhagen.

You can see pictures and video from that show here. Under Byen's part of the show will be a unique string of special duets arranged by the band. During the band's career it has covered songs by TV-2 and Povl Dissing live. You can read more in Danish at the website of the Aarhus Festival Week here. German show announced July 29, This will be at the Haldern Pop festival in Germany where the band has played before four years ago. Part of this show was later released as a live EP. Aarhus show confirmed July 25, One more show will be part of the previously mentioned autumn tour of Denmark.

The Pakhuset is part of the Studenthouse in Aarhus and is situated on the harbour. The Concerts page has been updated. New radio interviews July 18, Stine and Morten Svenstrup are talking a bit and playing some music. You can go here to read about it and download it. Or right-click and "save as" on this link to download it directly.

It's in English. Danish National Radio has made a string of interviews with female Danish musicians. One of them is Henriette Sennenvaldt. But it's already streamed online here. So go there for a very rare interview with Under Byen's leadsinger. It's in Danish. To read more about the other interviews go here. The radio shows are done by journalist Anya Poulsen. Danish tour in September July 17, From information gathered on the internet it looks as if the band is putting together an autumn tour of their home country in September.

Including gigs at some venues they most likely haven't played before. No official information from the band or its manager yet, but the following gigs can be found when visiting Beatbox Booking and visiting Danish venues on the internet: September Stars, Vordingborg.

September Studenterhuset, Aalborg. Then one can only guess if September 14 and will be used for shows. But so far this is the information that's out there. Pictures, live video and press clips July 5, While Under Byen's label Morningside Records are complaining on their website that the band does not send any postcards home and the rest of us are curious to read reviews, see some pictures and possibly hear some of their performances like the coming KEXP session we can enjoy some pictures in the meantime.

Already some brand new and really good ones online from the first show on tour at the El Ray Theater in Los Angeles on June Go here for those. And there are also some older ones: At Stensgaard. For moving pictures you should visit YouTube. Your webmaster here got permission to upload some nice video from the last Danish tour on that site.

A bit better quality than most other digicam- and mobilephone shot Under Byen clips on YouTube. This one was filmed with a dv-cam a bit shaky at times and has improved sound by adding soundboard sound into the mix. So go here to see Under Byen do a 9-minute long performance of "Den her sang The experimental electronic rock collective exceeded expectations creating deeply emotional soundscapes at times delicate and introspective, at times bombastic and mind numbing.

Some might think she "sings like" Bjork, but the Icelandic vocalist projects adolescence, as opposed to the Nico-like cool of Ms. Updated tour schedule June 29, The tour schedule put on MySpace by the band recently does not correspond with the one on the fansite. But the band are the ones in the know and have the latest adjustments - and so shall it be at the fansite!

The gig on July 2 will be at Nightlight Lounge in Bellingham near Seattle and the one on July 7 in Boise has been removed from the list. Some reading matter for you: OC Weekly interviews Morten Svenstrup in this article - where the phrase "northern light junkyard music" pops up. And then Wireless Bollinger has discovered the Thunderbear cd and given it a nice review where the writer concludes that "the musicianship will drive you into a jealous rage.

You can read that one here. Now the station has put out a compilation cd and lp with various live tracks from different artists - among them Under Byen. You can read all about the release made to raise money for the station here. Also: Morningside Records have announced on their website that the band will play a KEXP session when they reach Seattle on the tour they start this Thursday. US tour kicks off this week June 25, Under Byen are leaving for the US today and on Thurday they embark on another tour there - with a one-gig trip to Canada also.

All but one show will be together with The Album Leaf. Be sure to catch them at one of the shows. Check the Concerts page for details. Here Nils performed with Oliver Hoiness. There are still some left for sale. Updated US tour schedule May 22, Manager Jesper Majdall now has the updated list of shows on the "fall-turned-summer" tour of the USA plus a bit of Canada.

Some changes have been made to the original list announced by Paper Bag Records earlier this month. About a handful of the announced shows will not be played and the New York show has got a new venue and new date. Check the Concerts page for the details. Details on the gig can be found at the venue Global's website here. This will be as part of a pre-festival gig to promote this year's Forma Nova Festival. Visuals for the gig will be done by Bottega Arete. So cds will be for sale there.

Paper Bag Records announces US tour! Here it annonced the coming North Amerian fall tour where the band will join The Album Leaf on some dates. Before listing the live dates let's just mention that Paper Bag Records also revealed that Under Byen will be featured on the next "Live at KEXP" compilation which will be out this summer.

The tour according to Paper Bag Records:. Henriette Sennenvaldt live in London tonight May 2, Howe Gelb, the so-called "godfather of alternative country", is doing a show with a whole bunch of guests tonight at The Barbican in London. Henriette Sennenvaldt is also on the programme as part of his band Giant Sand. This is the second time that Howe Gelb does an "all-star" show at The Barbican - the first time almost being "legendary" by now. Other guests tonight include Isobel Campbell and Emiliana Torrini.

You can see the programme here pdf-file. Show with orchestra streamed online April 29, As a little bonus there are also two little videos of the band rehearsing with the orchestra. Go to www. The show itself was also shot for tv, so chances are that at some point the band will finally make it's way onto Danish tv screens.

The picture on the right is by our friendly neighbourhood photographer Jint. Shot of the empty radio hall before the show. Visit him at www. He's putting together a new website called www. Henriette is featured on the front page there. Live at the Danish national radio this Saturday April 25, A bit quiet on the News page these days.

But let's just remind people that it's this Saturday that the band plays with the big orchestra in Copenhagen as mentioned in previous news story. Hopefully soon we can bring some new live dates. This is done with the annual "Radiohuset Rocker" one-day festival in the studios in the house. The last band to ever play there will be Under Byen.

So says a press release from Denmarks Radio. The band's show will be one of a kind as it will feature a collaboration with the in-house RadioUnderholdningsOrkestret [The Radio Entertainment Orchestra]. You can visit "Radiohuset Rocker" on the web at www. Tickets are DKK in pre-sale info about where to get it is in the press release.

You can read that one here and check out some photos. Gaffa has the same one online too. In it manager Jesper Majdall says: "It's been an all or nothing tour with us aiming at big well-known venues. That's in an article entitled "Under Byen - Under reconstruction". Very clever. The article says he lost his enthusiasm for the long, hard tours and not making any money as a musician.

You can make music for free for some years, because it's the greatest thing in the world. But Under Byen is very close to a full-time job, and I also have my job as a music teacher to take care of. He has treated his key instruments with great eagerness to explore. He and I have run a hard race against each other to develop the soundscape with pedals and effects.

Still Nils looks to a bright future. For instance it opens up for a less piano-dominated sound, says Nils. No, I'm probably more the kind of person, that likes a clean cut. I have no idea. But I'm sure it will be great! As of writing this Danish national radio are broadcasting 24 hours of live recordings from last years Roskilde Festival. Tonight - or more precisely in the night Central European Time - Under Byen's show will be broadcast. That's actually March 25th and that's between 4. And don't forget to turn the clocks forward one hour tonight at least in Denmark, that is.

You can see the whole schedule at Gaffa here. Some photos from the Chop Suey gig in Seattle have made their way online here. Under Byen's Canadian label has a contest going on at the moment where you can win the vinyl version of "Samme Stof Som Stof". The contest ends on March The website Stereogum who sponsors the current tour stateside has put two new remixes of "Af Samme Stof Som Stof" on their website.

You can download them here. More reviews March 11, The tour seems to be going rather well. A lot of writing about it on the web too. The Canadian music blog For The Records writes about the same gig here and also has a bunch of pictures here. The Eye Weekly also reviewed the gig and the reviewer has found her new favourite band. Read that one here. Articles and blog reviews March 10, More news on the ongoing tour of the USA and Canada. The blog Midnight Poutine writes about the gig in Montreal.

Chromewaves was writing about the show in Toronto the day before and also the day after. And there are also lots of pictures. The Boston Globe also had an introducing article before the show there. And as you can see here on the right the band actually made the cover of The Eye Weekly magazine mentioned yesterday.

Looks great, doesn't it? A couple of interviews have popped up. The latter has a rather rare interview appearance by Henriette Sennenvaldt. US tour is on! Having played their first couple of gigs on the current US and Canadian tour Under Byen are on the road as of writing this. That's on Friday, March 16th at PM.

Read more about that here and tune in. If you at SXSW then KEXP have the following to say: "The entire 8-hour broadcast and the live performances are open to the public and we encourage you to come down and watch. If you plan to come to view a live band please arrive and be seated at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time.

Viewing will be limited to a first come first served basis only. Discography updated with new guest appearances February 18, The album "Ffffooo K Tsscch! It has just been released this week and it's a joyful mix of catchy guitar tunes, energetic experimental outbursts and free-floating soundscapes. All tied together with equal amounts of instrumental improvisation and original lyrics. Furthermore the tracklist what wonderful track names!

You can listen to mp3s from the albums and much more at www. The Concerts page has been updated with the latest info on the very-soon-to-come US tour. Cleveland and Opolis are now on the tour. And there are now "only" two shows at SXSW. Little details here and there have also been corrected. David Byrne, former Talking Heads mainman, who earlier wrote warmly about the band in his blog, is currently spinning a lot of Under Byen's tunes alongside other great artists mainly from the northern reaches of Europe - such as Stina Nordenstam, Sigur Ros and Hanne Hukkelberg.

A lovely selection. Under Byen are featured on MySpace's music page right now. Right in time for the coming shows. Let's hope it will help pack the venues. Help spread the word, if you know people in the neighbourhood who you think would like to go and see a great show! And Happy Valentines, all you lovers out there! Henriette Sennenvaldt photo session February 5, Photographer Anders Von Greffelstejn shot a really great photo session with Henriette Sennenvaldt last year.

Anders and Henriette felt like sharing these great photos with the rest of you. So here they are! Go here to see them. Visit Anders' website www. Thanks, Anders and Henriette! The four other nominations - Album of the year, Song of the year, Band of the year and Author best lyrics of the year - went so someone else. You can see the full list of winners at Gaffa. One solo release and two albums with guest appearances.

The title is "Jeg har noget tilsvarende derhjemme" [I have something similar at home] and it consists of one 26 minute track in several parts. A journey in sound where deep thundering noise, minimal electronic jittering blend with violin. Only 50 copies have been made, so don't wait for too long, if you want one. Read more on the Shop page at the site, if you are curious.

The cd is released alongside Italian lo-fi pop act Marzipan Marzipan. Tonight the Danish Music critics' award 'Steppeulven' decides what artist are getting recognition for their accomplishments this year. Under Byen is the band with the most nominations: six in all! Webzine Soundvenue had this news today.

You can read the article in Danish here. And a little side note: Soundvenue had an article this December where the band picked their favourite albums of the year. Somehow it went unmentioned on this page.

Read on here in Danish. Danish Music Award nomination January 15, The annual mostly-major-label Danish Music Awards - where the mainstream Danish music biz congratulates itself on another year gone by - have announced this year's nominees. As usual a few bands have most of the nominations, but for some reason Under Byen have snuck in and gotten a single nomination.

Or more precisely Henriette Sennenvaldt has - as female singer of the year. You can see all the not-terribly-surprising nominations at Ekstra Bladet here. Morningside Records labelmates Oh No Ono have two nominations. Much more interesting, but with less public attention, are the Danish critics award Steppeulven where Under Byen are nominated in six categories. Another US date January 12, This will be at the venue Chop Suey in Seattle on March Thanks, Jesper!

North American tourdates January 11, The dates for the big upcoming tour of North America have been announced. Plenty of US shows this time around. And even an MTV gig in Canada. Looks exciting! Keep checking back for updates and more possible shows. Competition winners! January 10, Here they are. The winners of this year's x-mas competition.

And wow, how many they are! So many prizes. But before we announce the winners let's just take a look at the input from the competition. The top three of songs that got the most votes are interestingly enough from each of the three albums. The old favourite "Legesag" was clearly the winner, but was closely followed by newcomer "Den her sang Still, the many songs voted for without a doubt show that Under Byen is not a band floating on a fragile cussion of single hits.

Some were chosen because they where the very first Under Byen song people heard, others were chosen because the lyrics affected people very much personally and yet others had blown people so much over backwards at a live gig that the experience was still recalled vividly. And here is the list!

Please note that many songs share a spot on this list because they got the same amount of votes. Legesag 2. Thanks a lot for everything you wrote, folks! It has truly been a pleasure as webmaster to read all the super kind e-mails. It's evident that the music really touches you. All your nice words will be passed onto the band.

They enjoyed reading the results from the last competition so much - and most surely will this time too. And now here are the winners! The prizes will be send to you soon. And then - as once before - a little apology from your webmaster for asking such a hard question to you all.

Some wrote: Then what is your favourite, Lars? And yes, it's damn tough. All depends on one's mood, if it's a live version or something else. But for nostalgic reasons I put my vote on "Fugle og ild". It was the song that stuck in my head for ages after the very first gig I saw - way back before "Kyst" was released. It simply wouldn't let go - and that deserves a vote. Thanks to the band for providing all these lovely prizes for yet another fine competition here at the site! More competition prizes December 28, Your webmaster just realized that he could in fact also throw in a few prizes to make it a bit more exciting.

Two promo cds are up for grabs just the same as the sales copies except they are not numbered besides all the other prizes. The music on this cd was originally released as the soundtrack for an art exhibition of paintings in , but is now rereleased in January in a limited number of copies through the new label SOPA run by the webmaster of this site.

The cd contains a 26 minute track where deep thundering noise, minimal electronic jittering blend beautifully with violin. You can read a bit more at www. Happy new year, folks! Christmas competition December 23, This is very last-minute, but it's still x-mas!

Time for a competition. The band and Morningside Records have put these nice things up for grabs. You decide yourself how much you want to write. Remember to include your postal address and t-shirt size! And do it on January 7 at the latest. This question has been asked before in an earlier christmas competition. But new songs and new listeners have come since then, so let's try that one again.

Thanks to Under Byen for an exciting year with a superb album and so many fantastic shows. And great to see all you folks out there who support the band and also drop by this website. A truckload of merry christmas wishes to all of you! Your online servant,. Live photos from Rotterdam December 23, As a last little present right before christmas today you will get a total of 31 photos from the November gig at Rotown in Rotterdam, Holland.

Photographer Marc Nolte was at the show and shot all these fantastic photos in beautiful black and white. Some of them must be among the best Under Byen live shots done so far. Just check out this one of Nils on the right. Go to this page and check them out.

And go to www. Thanks a bunch, Marc! Live photos from Silkeborg December 22, This year he returned to "the scene of the crime" with his camera and shot even more. Check out his great new set of photos here. Thanks a lot, Casper! Several media have placed Under Byen's "Samme stof som stof" album in their "best albums of the year" charts. As mentioned earlier Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet put it straight at number one on the Danish chart.

Webzine Undertoner follow the good suggestion and does exactly the same. Danish alternative radio chart Det Elektriske Barometer put the album at number 18 - with two fellow Morningside labelmates, Christian Hjelm of Figurines and Oh No Ono, popping up at number 15 and 1 respectively. Danish webzine Diskant put Under Byen at number 7 in their "best album of the year" chart and at number 1 in the "best Danish album of the year" chart.

You can see that here. The unified whole is just as clattering, violintrembling, melancholic and joyful as a perfectly balanced overall sound should be. It's so nasty and nice my stomach hurts. Despite clearly defined songwriter duties you get the feeling of a creative democracy. The band has eight members of which one plays saw and violin, lovely.

The result is a kind of semi-gloomy "after club"-music, but free of digital elements. The use of strings can sometimes remind me of dEUS. Danish critics awards nominations December 10, Under Byen is leading the field at the annual Danish music critics awards, Steppeulven , this year - with an amazing six nominations.

Check it out: - Album of the year Samme stof som stof - Song of the year Af samme stof som stof - Band of the year - Live band of the year - Singer of the year Henriette Sennenvaldt - Author best lyrics of the year Henriette Sennevaldt. Way to go, guys'n'gals! The award show will be held - and the winners announced - at Lille Vega in Copenhagen on February 3. You can see all the nominated artists at Gaffa.

The official site is not yet updated, it seems. Botanique live photos December 7, Libelia De Splenter from Belgium has been so kind as to sent a whole bunch of fantastic photos which she shot at the Botanique show in Brussels on November 9. Go here and feast your eyes. Thanks so much, Libelia! Also: the Bootography has been updated. Belgian radio session and interview December 6, The band plays two acoustic songs and Stine and Nils are interviewed.

Go here to have a listen. Thanks a lot, Nils! The Danish media wrote some really nice reviews of the recent shows. At the same time drawing parallels to Star Trek which must be a first in an Under Byen review That journey goes both via an immensely beautiful rendition of the fragile slowmotion ballad 'Tindrer', which singer Henriette Sennenvaldt colours brilliantly with her drowned and fallen angel voice. And onwards all the way out into a long-drawn-out and wild noiserocking acidbath for the senses.

And vital - that is Under Byen. Maybe as never before. The group alternate sensibly between ingenious and restrained arrangements and collosal sonic assaults. A successful mission to the stars. Danish magazine Gaffa wrote in detail about the going-ons of the show at Train in Aarhus and concluded: "Under Byen is still an orchestra in a class all of its own". Read it all in Danish here. Danish webzine Soundvenue were completely blown away by the tour's grand finale at Pumpehuset in Copenhagen.

A maximum of six stars were given and the words were among others: "Under Byen's music was like an arrow through the heart. The musical experience was so overwhelming and intense that no one could have left this last show of the band's tour without goosebumps and a throbbing heart. At Gaffa it got into 6th place on the "Best Danish Albums of " list - which had the barely-just-released "Interkom Kom Ind" by Nephew at number one this webmaster wonders how many people are actually aware of the fact that one of the band members are also one of the main editors at Gaffa?

Not that it has to have anything to do with anything. The song "Af samme stof som stof" also made it into the chart of best Danish singles of at number five. This last Sunday Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet summed up the best Danish albums of and placed "Samme stof som stof" at number one no less. I guess congratulations are in order. Live photos December 3, With the touring over for the moment it's time to look over all the photos from around the world that have been sent to this site.

Thanks a lot to all of you! They will be posted over the coming weeks - in no particular order. Thanks, Michael! Under Byen at Allmusic. The major website with the ambitious, yet slightly misleading name Allmusic. Along with it comes a nice review of "Samme stof som stof". Read the review here and the biography here. Canadian magazine Beatroute has a review of "Samme stof som stof".

But not all of it is online, it seems. You can read that bit here. French webzine Eclipshead has an interview with the band. It's in French. Go here to read that one scroll down. If you're not fluent in French then the babbling fish might help you. And don't forget that the band is rounding off their Danish tour this weekend with shows from Thursday to Saturday in Vordingborg, Roskilde and Copenhagen.

You can read a bit more about the work with the special stage set-up at the venue Stars at their website here. Reviews November 21, Paper Bag Records has collected a bunch of review quotes on their MySpace bulletin. Some of them have been mentioned here before. Others haven't When listening to Samme Stof Som Stof, one feels as if anything is possible, as if each song can alter its shape at any moment and become something altogether different. There is a palpable sense of a band, not attempting to exhaust the possibilities of each song, but to consciously and playfully invent each twist and turn, to patiently compose labyrinths constant to their musical vision.

Under Byen is incredibly apt at enrapturing one with what is happening while at the same time putting her in suspense over what will come next. They are a band that boldly declares that they don't sound like anyone except themselves. And they are a band that proves it time and time again. Read it all here. Think Bell Orchestre. Think late-era Talk Talk. Think Mogwai. Then think again. Full of experimental sound play that never sounds experimental, dual drummers that aren't redundant, and built microphones that distort lovely vocals into something even lovelier, Samme Stoff Som Stof begs to be considered as one of the year's most impressive works.

Unlike so many bands that appear seemingly out of nowhere with the shelf life of a half-eaten apple, Under Byen offer a lush, incredibly dense and ethereal landscape of sound, with a style that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the world's perceptions. One worth seeking out! Throughout the album, the urge to pull every track to a gushing climax is resisted in favor of individual instrumental turns and a welcome dose of negative space.

String sections, piano, synths, kalimbas and eerie theremin-like saw playing helps us forget to miss absent guitars. Even the sequencing displays a well-developed aesthetic, with short and delicate music-box pieces cleansing the palette for the opuses. Lack of language comprehension doesn't diminish the plus-sized emotions on display, even if making sense of it all is ultimately akin to finding meaning in the frozen face of a Scandinavian fjord.

The textures recall the heavier drone of Pelican or Growing married with the folk-inflected pastoral of Espers or Joanna Newsom. It all comes together on tracks at turns gorgeous and sweeping or dark and atonal, but always well crafted, well balanced, and well worth zoning out to. They have been added to the fastgrowing Press clips page. This time it's Spin. You can read it all here and rate the band. And discuss the piece here , if you feel like it. Odense show cancelled November 19, The show in Odense has been cancelled - as has most of the shows at the venue this winter.

According to the venue's website it is due to financial difficulties at the place. You can read more at www. We hope to get you back in business again, Odense Studenterhus! The lyrics book that has been mentioned on this site before is now finally in print. Manager Jesper Majdall was kind enough to sent one in the mail to your webmaster. And the first impression was simply: a lot of love must have put into this little book.

It's a hardcover, not-so-thick book measuring 14 x 17 centimeters. But as the saying goes: size doesn't matter. At least not here. This is pure, concentrated Under Byen. The book does not contain all the lyrics from Under Byen's albums, but selected ones from all three. Yes, "Legesag", "Kyst", "Det er mig" are there, but also many of your other favourites, I'm sure.

On the left page there's the Danish original and on the right page is the English translation. The nice surprise is that there are also lyrics - or poems - that have not been on any album. Including the text used for Henriette Sennenvaldt's contribution about "a book made of snow" for an art exhibition what might be one of the more explicit examples of Under Byen 's quirky humour. Other pieces are most likely totally new to the public. The book will be made for sale on the ongoing tour of Denmark for the price of Danish kroner DKK.

Which is roughly 20 euro or 26 US dollars by current currency. I'll keep you posted. I am sure there are quite a few people outside Denmark who would love to get their hands on this great piece of reading matter. And they like it. Not just throwing their ratings around they give it a 7. A good review. Samme Stof Som Stof's sound palette is a vivid and varied range of grays and blues; each song is like some giant machine on the verge of shuddering apart. One is its whimsy-- from the looks of it, you just throw together any letters you like and then pronounce them however you want.

On that particular occasion Stars is giving birth to a new concept of theirs. One that tries to move away from the traditional "band-on-stage-in-front-of-audience" setup. The crew at the venue are currently working on different models in an attempt to place the band in the middle of the concert hall on different levels.

Furthermore the usual dark-walled place with instead have white surfaces. Videoprojections will also be an important part of this idea. The audience will be able to "interact" more with the artists playing, the article says. The concept is planned to be used at more shows to come - not just for Under Byen.

No more details as of yet, but they seem rather determined to try something different at Stars. You can read the full review by clicking the links. They had good things to say:. The band gets a lot more raucous than Sigur Ros could ever imagine. The contrast between the two creates a wonderful dynamic that runs throughout the whole album, as the band build up a really tense atmosphere, and then throw the kind of cathartic release that makes it all worthwhile -- which, really, is a word that could be used to describe the entire album.

Samme stof som stof is a rewarding album to listen to, and hopefully one that will help Under Byen succeed here on their own terms. Americans and Canadians listen up! Your next Under Byen fix is not far away.

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