your sickness is felt in my body

A darkly visceral musical statement on the impact of gender discrimination on women’s health.

Stephen Adams, ABC Classic FM
Vimeo play for a video of Decibel New Music Ensemble performing ‘Your Sickness is Felt in My Body’ composed by Thembi Soddell, at the ABC Ultimo Centre, Sydney, in 2014, as part of the After Julia Program.

Program notes: 

For bass flute, bass clarinet, viola, cello, piano and bass drum

“We tested the model that sexist discrimination, measured by the Schedule of Sexist Events (SSE), would account for additional variance in women’s physical and psychiatric symptoms, above and beyond that accounted for by generic stressors. … [Sexist] discrimination accounted for more of the variance than did generic stressors in premenstrual, depressive, obsessive-compulsive, somatic, and total psychiatric and physical symptoms. These findings… suggest that sexist discrimination plays a significant role in women’s most prevalent symptoms.” Landrine et al., (1995), PHYSICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC CORRELATES OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION

This work was commissioned by Decibel New Music Ensemble for After Julia, a concert of eight contemporary works by Australian women composers responding to Julia Gillard’s tenure as Australian Prime Minster. Decibel Artistic Director, Cat Hope, was inspired to pursue the project after circumstances around Gillard’s prime ministership exposed gender discrimination within politics and wider Australian society, causing her to reflect on the new music sector. The broad collection of works includes a 6-girl choir, instructions from goldfish, spoken phrases turned into musical gestures, mouth organs and more. Text is adapted from Decibel’s website.