The Crowing Hens, an all-female whistling group, put their lips together and blow
Several old proverbs warn of the dangers of whistling women and crowing hens. In Scotland, neither will bring luck to the house they are in. In America, they will come to no good end. Indeed, in a phrase often attributed to the Bible but not found there, such women and hens are not fit for God or men.
Susan Silton, known for addressing gender and power issues in politically driven multi-platform artwork, takes ownership of the woman-fearing maxim with her all-female whistling group The Crowing Hens. Accompanied by strings and percussion, five women whistle as an act of unladylike defiance. Whether it’s a feat of musicianship or of breath is a matter of interpretation. Among their repertoire is the theme to the iconic Western The Magnificent Seven (1960), which starred almost every hypermasculine heavyweight actor of the era, including Yul Brynner and James Coburn. The group performs at SITE Santa Fe (1606 Paseo de Peralta) on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 6 p.m. as part of SITE’s 20th anniversary series of exhibits and events. Silton also shows parts of The Whistling Project, a multilevel, multimedia work that includes performance, sculpture, and text in its exploration of gendered violence.
As part of The Crowing Hens performance, former Santa Fe poet laureate Valerie Martínez reads portions of her new chapbook, A Hundred Little Mouths, which was commissioned and published by Silton for The Whistling Project. Call 505-989-1199 for reservations; there is no charge. — Jennifer Levin
Members of The Crowing Hens