YOU’VE DRUMMED A LONG WAY, BABY

Madame Gandhi’s aim is to beat sex­ism — quite lit­er­ally

Sharp - - GUIDE - By Chris Hamp­ton

FEW DRUM­MERS EVER leave the throne to take cen­tre stage. But for Madame Gandhi, who’s kept time for both M.I.A. and Thiev­ery Cor­po­ra­tion, the ur­gency to find her own voice be­came so great that she needed to grab the mic her­self.

Maybe you heard of Ki­ran Gandhi back in 2015. The mu­si­cian was at the cen­tre of a viral mo­ment when she ran the Lon­don Marathon while “free bleed­ing” to ad­dress the stig­mas sur­round­ing women’s pe­ri­ods. Af­ter the crush of in­ter­view re­quests that re­sulted, she re­al­ized she had a lot of ideas on gen­der equal­ity and she wanted to share them pub­licly. “That’s when I moved from the drums to the front,” she says.

Her de­but EP, Voices, trav­els the border­lands be­tween elec­tro­clash, trap, and down­tempo. It de­liv­ers its ac­tivism in dance mu­sic. That’s the se­duc­tion, she says. “My dream is to get every­one par­ty­ing to the sounds of fem­i­nism. I want peo­ple fuck­ing to the noise of gen­der equal­ity.”

When she met Toronto DJ Bam­bii on the bus ride to their show at Frankie’s Surf Club, Muskoka, pre­sented by East Room last Au­gust, the pair con­nected and de­cided to col­lab­o­rate on the fly. A lit­tle treat for those on hand: Bam­bii Djed Madame Gandhi’s set while the em­cee — dressed in ra­di­ant yel­low like the morn­ing sun she’s named af­ter — hopped from the mic stand to the con­gas, then be­hind the drum kit to solo and back again. When Gandhi re­turns to Toronto at the end of Septem­ber, she’s in­vited Bam­bii out once again.

That’s be­come part of her mis­sion: to el­e­vate and cel­e­brate fe­male voices. This fall, Madame Gandhi will re­lease a Voices remix al­bum, fea­tur­ing what she calls some “pretty ex­per­i­men­tal” re­works of the EP tracks, recorded by five tal­ented fe­male artists: DJ Shiva, TT the Artist, Suzi Ana­logue, Giz­zle, and Per­era Else­where.

For Gandhi, “the fu­ture is fe­male” isn’t some slo­gan or plat­i­tude, it’s a guiding phi­los­o­phy. “It’s about valu­ing fem­i­nin­ity as much as we value mas­culin­ity,” she says. It’s about giv­ing more than tak­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tion in­stead of com­pe­ti­tion. “‘The fu­ture is fe­male,’ to me, is about look­ing to the fe­male archetype for in­spi­ra­tion, for new lead­er­ship, but also for our sur­vival.”

Leave it to a drum­mer to voice the re­sis­tance. They’re dis­rup­tive and loud, but it’s also the drums that es­tab­lish the rhythm. It’s the drum­mer we all dance to.

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