Free night will highlight Coventry's women 2Tone and 1970s ska post-punk trailblazers - The Coventry Observer

15th Aug, 2022

Free night will highlight Coventry's women 2Tone and 1970s ska post-punk trailblazers

AN EVENING of film screenings and lively discussions at Coventry Cathedral tomorrow will see the lives of women trailblazers of the 2Tone and 1970s ska post-punk music scene celebrated.

The free 2Tone: Lives and Legacies Screenings – Women Pioneers will feature special guests including Pauline Black, of The Selecter, Rhoda Dakar, of The Bodysnatchers/The Specials/Special AKA, and Helen McCookerybook of The Chefs/Helen and the Horns.

The event is running as part of Resonate Festival, a year-long themed programme of public conversations, talks, exhibitions, film festivals, walking tours, debates and a family festival day organised by The University of Warwick, a principal partner in Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.

Between 7pm and 10pm there will be a Q&A chaired by Jennifer Otter-Bickerdike with Pauline Black, Rhoda Dakar and Helen McCookerybook.

Two film screenings include a showing of Stories from the She Punks (2018), a 45-minute documentary featuring the stories of women musicians from the punk-inspired bands of the 1970s.

This will be followed by Sisters with Transistors (Lisa Rovner, 2020), the remarkable untold 90-minute story of electronic music’s female pioneers, including Coventry-born composer and mathematician Delia Derbyshire, best known for co-creating the Dr Who theme.

Visit for more and to reserve the free tickets.

Here is a full timetable of what is happening when

7pm to 7.40pm – Q&A chaired by Jennifer Otter-Bickerdike with Pauline Black (The Selecter), Rhoda Dakar (The Bodysnatchers/Specials/Special AKA), and Helen McCookerybook (The Chefs/Helen and the Horns).

7.40pm to 8.25pm – Stories from the She Punks (2018, 45 mins), a documentary featuring the stories of women musicians from the punk-inspired bands of the 70s, made by Gina Birch (the Raincoats) and Helen Reddington (Helen McCookerybook of the Chefs). It reflects all the anarchy, the excitement of the new sounds upsetting British music, and their DIY approach to learning and playing their instruments. The women in this film describe an alternative to the alternative world of punk all too often remembered from a male perspective.

8.30pm to 10pm –  Sisters with Transistors (Lisa Rovner, 2020, 90 mins) is the remarkable untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today.

The film maps a new history of electronic music through the visionary women whose radical experimentations with machines redefined the boundaries of music, including Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani, and Laurie Spiegel.

Prof Helen Wheatley, director of the Resonate Festival and director of the Centre for Television Histories at the University of Warwick, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Herbert and the Cathedral again on this fascinating event that celebrates women’s roles in the development of ska, punk and electronic music.

“Film plays an important role in telling untold stories about popular music and making women’s voices heard.”

Helen Wheatley was also a consultant for The Herbert’s current 2Tone: Lives and Legacies exhibition, on until September 12 2021. Free tickets can be booked here:

Book tickets via the City of Culture Trust’s Amplify programme here:

For further details about the Resonate festival programme visit

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