Rapp Plays 4/25/2004 March For Women's Lives In Washington, DC
The woman in red is singer Bethany Yarrow, behind her, in the red hat, is Marilyn Fitterman, Past President NOW-NYS. The guy with the guitar is Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary). The woman with the guitar is Sandy Rapp and at the far right is singer Holly Near. Other musicians and stage crew also joined in. They sang Yarrow's "Which Side Are You On?" and Rapp's "Remember Rose: A Song For Choice." Photo: Jeri Baldwin
The New Yorker - 11/13/06
Talk Of The Town By Kate Julien
TRUCE DEPT: BELLA VS. BETTY
In a year of all-too-public reconciliations (ranging from Tom and Brooke to Paris and Nicole), word of a rapprochement between the followers of the late Betty Friedan and those of the late Bella Abzug has been relatively slow to spread. It all started, inauspiciously enough, with Friedan’s death, in February. “The family wanted the funeral to be a family ceremony,” Sidney Abbott, the founder of a group called Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, explained recently. “But there were many frustrated feminists there who wanted to hear what Kate”—Kate Millett, the author of the 1970 manifesto “Sexual Politics”—“and others had to say.” Abbott, the co-author of the 1972 book “Sappho Was a Right-On Woman,” decided to plan a proper sendoff. Having set a date—Women’s Equality Day, the eighty-sixth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment—she prevailed upon N.Y.U. to lend space at its law school. Coretta Scott King, who passed away the same week as Friedan, would be remembered, as would Abzug, who died in 1998. Millett would at last deliver her eulogy, but the event would not be a wake: it would be forward-looking, with workshops, awards, and calls to action. Abbott set about enlisting old acquaintances, some of whom were wary of a Betty-Bella doubleheader. “Feminist lore has it that the National Women’s Political Caucus was Betty Friedan’s brainchild,” Abbott said. “But then Bella and Gloria Steinem came in.” As Judith Hennessee wrote in her biography of Friedan, “Bella and Betty were like the North Vietnamese and the Americans fighting over the shape of the table at the Paris Peace Conferences.” In her column for McCall’s, Friedan called Abzug and Steinem “female chauvinist boors.” A typical Abzug retort: “Once again Betty Friedan is exercising her right to be wrong.” In the weeks leading up to the event, the two camps remained divided. Abbott said, “Each side was saying, ‘That’s a Bella person!’ or ‘That’s a Betty person!’ ” But on the day of the conference peace prevailed. There were crudités and iced tea, hugs, exclamations of names, and a display of old photographs by Bettye Lane, a longtime chronicler of the feminist movement. “A lot of my friends from the seventies are gone now,” Lane, who was wearing blue-tinted glasses, said. She spotted Millett, whose hair is white and who was wearing a pink shawl and sneakers. “Kate, you’re in the display!” she shouted. Barbara Love, whose encyclopedia of second-wave feminists came out this fall, was busy locating people mentioned in her book and affixing to their blouses yellow stickers that read “A Feminist Who Changed America, ’63-’75.” Soon the women began filing into Tishman Auditorium for the afternoon’s main program. There were lots of speakers, but the subject of Friedan and Abzug’s relationship came up again and again. “In those days, Bella and Betty, it seemed, were always at odds,” Jacqui Ceballos, the head of Veteran Feminists of America, said. “But a few years ago they were coming in on the bus from Long Island, the Jitney, and when they saw each other they told their friends to get out of the way,” she said. “The two of them sat down and talked. Such powerful, wonderful women. We were so lucky to live in their time.” There were murmurs and nods across the audience, from Bella people and Betty people alike. The proceedings were interspersed with music. (“It’s kind of hard to get people into a militant state of mind without music,” Abbott said.) The singer-songwriter Sandy Rapp had composed a song for the occasion, “Rise Up Ye Women,” which started like this: “It was a time of dark and sad song / Seven years with Bella been and gone.” There followed a stanza about Friedan, one about Rosa Parks, one cataloguing other recent losses (“Molly Yard went marchin’ to the rally in the sky / And C. DeLores Tucker left as well”), and then the final verse: “And let us sing, Coretta Scott King / For out from Alabama did she go / And there was Bella’s scribe Mim Kelber / There was Wendy Wasserstein / And we lost ’em all within a year, ya know.” — Kate Julian
Northeast In-Tune - 6/15-7/14, 2006
Sandy Rapp www.sandyrapp.com By: Susan Frances Sandy Rapp is a folk singer and songwriter as well as an author and a gay & lesbian rights activist. Her songs have a folksy delivery similar to tunes by Joan Baez, the trio - Peter, Paul, and Mary, the duo - Simon and Garfunkel, and a few Irish folk musicians like the Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem, and Brooklyn’s own Black 47. Though Sandy’s bio says that she was trained on the piano since the age of 4, she prefers the acoustic textures of the guitar in her ensembles and a light douse of horns conveying a “Stars & Stripes” emblem on the songs. Her track “Remember Rose: A Song For Choice” features vocal harmonies by the late Bella Abzug, the former New York State Congresswoman. There is a catchy phonic to the vocal melody that recites: “Get your laws off of me; I’m not your property Don’t plan my family; I’ll plan my own I don’t wanna be in your theocracy Remember liberty Remember Rose” The tune comes off like a battle cry into facing the enemy, which in essence, the song was designed to combat legislation that hurt women’s rights to having an abortion. Her songs are issue oriented and have the socio-political spirit of an activist. It’s the song’s uprising stature that rings like a Black 47 tune and many Irish folk music pieces. All of Sandy’s songs pronounce social injustices like the track “Everyone was at Stonewall,” which chronicles the history of the contemporary gay civil rights movement. There is a story rhyme characteristic to her songs, documenting situations that happened and depicting social issues that feel ignored. Her music means to expresses them in a forceful in-you-face fashion. Her song “Get A Voice” acts as a catalyst for those who can’t find their voices, to represent themselves when she tells: “Get a voice, it’s good to tell The sounds of freedom loud and well Get a voice, it’s good to say The rainbow everyday. Get a voice!” Additionally, she is the author of God’s Country: A Case Against Theocracy which addresses the heady issues of war, feminism, reproductive rights, and the separation of church and state, directly like her songs themes. Sandy has released three albums, her debut LP We The People (1997), her sophomore release Flag and The Rainbow (1999), and her latest disc Still Marchin’ (2005). Her live performances have included rallies mostly, at the National Women’s Music Festival, the Gay Millennium March on Washington, D.C., and the National NOW Conventions at Seneca Falls, Manhattan, and Washington, D.C. Wherever there is a pep-rally for gay & lesbian rights, Sandy Rapp is sure to be heard whether playing live or played on her record. Her music makes her audible.
Outlook Long Island - Summer 2005
Long Island Activist Sandy Rapp To Release New CD
This September Long Island singer/author Sandy Rapp will release her third issue-oriented CD: Still Marchin'. As it happens, the album's opening track, "Legislator Postal On Our Side," revolves around remarks the late Suffolk County Legislator Maxine Postal (D) made in Outlook-Long Island. And the CD updates "Everyone Was At Stonewall," about the Manhattan beginnings of the contemporary gay civil rights movement. This song, which won StoneWall Society's 2004 "Pride Song of the Year," includes a list of all the US states providing comprehensive gay-positive legislation. Hence it requires a revision every year or so. Another tune, "Pride Is Alive In Yellowstone," celebrates a three-state GLBT Pride Parade and Rally in Billings Montana. It quote several of the national activists who spoke to the crowd. Also included is a tune from Rapp's Stonewall Era GayBar singing days in Manhattan. "Mary, Mary" captures the old bar-ghetto days and was actually written in the New York 60's bar "Three." Rapp's best known tune "Remember Rose: A Song For Choice" appears in a three-minute incarnation, as always, with the magical guest vocal by the late, great feminist Congresswoman from New York, Bella Abzug. Rapp has sung this tune at a great many national rallies, including the million-plus 2004 March For Women's Lives in Washington, DC, and most recently at the 2005 National NOW Conference and Rally in Nashville, Tennessee. Additionally, Still Marchin' is an inter-species CD, which features an antiwar song, sung from an old camel's perspective. There is also a tribute to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, and Rapp's ARF-adopted terrier mix Cagney Anne. The CD includes a number of other issue-oriented songs and closes with "Get A Voice: A Rainbow Sing-Along," which will fit just about any progressive rally there is. Sign up for Outlook Long Island’s Yahoo group (see page 49) for news of the upcoming online release party for Sandy Rapp's Still Marchin'. Rapp's CDs and books are available at Amazon.com and SandyRapp.com.
Still Strumming For The Cause By Debbie Tuma
Southampton Independent - 1/28/04
East Hampton Independent - 2//4/04
Sandy Rapp, who has performed around the country for a variety of causes, is back home in East Hampton, promoting her second CD Flag & The Rainbow, which is also the title song. It is Rapp’s second CD, following We the People, her acclaimed debut album from 1995. The latest CD is based on experiences she has had on the road as a feminist, and gayand lesbian activist musician. Her songs are catchy, issue-oriented, and are meant to have a message for the times we live in. Her song, “Flag & The Rainbow,” honors people who have died as a result of anti-gay violence. “We need to claim our flag as gays and lesbians and not rail against it,” she said. “Ballad of Sister Spirit” was written about Camp Sister Spirit in Mississippi, a feminist camp formed by two women about 15 years ago. “At that time, this camp was too progressive for this area, and the native people shot at the camp,” she said. “They still have festivals there, and it is now less controversial,” she said. Her song, “Manhattan Cowgirl,” was dedicated to her friend Blanche Wiesen Cook of East Hampton, author of the Eleanor Roosevelt biography. Rapp also dedicated two songs on her new album to the late Congresswoman and fellow feminist activist Bella Abzug, who lived in Sag Harbor. Gay Rights Rapp was involved in getting a gay rights bill in Suffolk County during the 1980s, and part of this bill was to have an awareness of gay and lesbian rights, as well as other minorities, in the Suffolk Police Academy. Since then, Rapp has been involved in teaching “police sensitivity training” classes to the Suffolk Police Academy, as well as local police and those in the state of Montana. Rapp’s musical talent emerged early in life. She started playing the piano at age four, and has been a professional musician since age 17. Although she attended the University of Cincinnati Conservatory, she soon discovered she was “not cut out to be a classical musician.” Throughout her career, she has played “all kinds of music, from country to techno-pop, at parties and events. At festivals and rallies, she plays her original, issue-oriented folk rock tunes. In 1991, she published a book, “God’s Country -- A Case Against Theocracy,” about privacy rights issues. On February 5, Rapp will be playing yet another song dedication, at a memorial ceremony for the late Suffolk County Legislator Maxine Postal, who died recently. The Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) will hold this memorial at their center in Bayshore at 7:30 p.m. “Maxine was instrumental in gay legislation on Long Island,” said Rapp. The “Flag & The Rainbow” CD is available at Bookhampton, Long Island Sound, Canio’s Books, Kramoris Gallery, and on Amazon.com. © 2002 East Hampton Independent News Co. All rights reserved.
We The People - Reviews
Gay Today - 5/11/1998: Jack Nichols calls Rapp "a spiritual cousin to Woodie and Arlo Guthrie" and her music "Dylanesque"... "'The Rally' is a show stopper!"
Newsday - 3/3/99: Guitar around her neck, a whole class of Suffolk County Police recruits in front of her...it is indeed a change from the bad old days. But this time, after Sandy Rapp sang "Everyone Was At Stonewall," the cops-to-be applauded!
Fountain Magazine: We The People is a beautifully orchestrated, historically astute and very singable, upbeat music collection of original works on feminist and gay political issues. Don’t miss these Movement Milestones!
Womyn’s Words: Ten songs fill the air starting with the tribute Hats Off To Bella followed by "Remember Rose: A Song For Choice." This piece features a guest vocal by Bella Abzug honoring Rose Jimenez, the first fatality of the 1977 Medicaid-Abortion cutoff. A very viable source for rally singing.
The Existentialist: In 1991 Rapp’s controversial book God’s Country explored the religious right-wing’s profound threat to the privacy rights of US citizens. We The People in sing-along satire, is a musical version of the book.
NOW-NYS Reporter: This is the music of our movement - a stirring collection. The tunes are catchy and forceful, the lyrics intelligent and memorable. Rapp’s powerful voice has never sounded better.
Southern Voice: Rapp is an educator and long-time feminist activist whose song subjects derive from people, places and events of historical significance, especially from relevant gay social and political issues.
East End NOW: Sing For The Revolution! "The Rally" will ring with familiarity to all who have ever attended a feminist march and Ten Percent takes on everyone from Pat Robertson to Rush Limbaugh.
MS Magazine - January/February 1996: We found out that Bella Abzug’s the backup vocalist on Sandy Rapp’s new album and ... Bella can sing!
Out Sounds: This activist, with her earthy and commanding voice, offers a superb and satiric collection in the best troubadour tradition
Gearing Up For March On DC
Gay City News - 4/22-28/04
On April 13, feminist singer Sandy Rapp performed her show "Everyone Was At Stonewall," a collection of original feminist and gay history songs, at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Community Center at a performance series called "Second Tuesdays," that has been presented by Mel Wolf, pictured above, since 1985. Rapp received joyous applause and was congratulated by many attendees for her artistic efforts on behalf of the LGBT community. Rapp's next appearance will be at the April 25th Washington, DC March For Women's Lives, a national gathering of women concerned with the Bush Administration's policies on reproductive rights and consensual sexuality, hosted by NOW (National Organization For Women), Planned Parenthood, and a number of other national groups, including the Empire State Pride Agenda. For more information on joining others traveling to the Capital, contact the Pride Agenda at 212-627-0305.
Review by Jed Ryan
Outmusic Spotlight - 2005
"Everyone Was at Stonewall" is quintessential Sandy Rapp: an immediately catchy, campfire-style melody with instantly accessible, sing-along lyrics... And, like most of Rapp's songs, the tune was patently created for the crusade towards equality.With Still Marchin' Sandy Rapp reminds us that many people can make music... but when someone makes music with a message, they also make history.
Review by Gregg Shapiro
Chicago Free Press - 1/4/06
Still Marchin' is, not surprisingly, a collection of protest and pride songs with powerful political messages. With song titles such as “Everyone Was At Stonewall,” “Remember Rose: A Song For Choice,” “Flag and the Rainbow” and “Get A Voice,” there is little doubt about what is on Rapp’s mind. Rapp also displays a charming sense of humor on the jaunty “Leave A Message At The Tone.” See also Bay Area Reporter - 11/10/05 & Philadelphia Gay News - 10/28/05
Flag & The Rainbow Reviews
The title tune is the first recording of what Newsday 3/3/99 described as a song honoring "people who have passed away from antigay violence." The piece characterized Rapp as "a longtime folkie and lesbian activist who uses music to get a message across." And journalist Debbie Tuma wrote: "Her songs are catchy, issue-oriented, and with a message for the times we live in." Hampton Independent 1/28/04 & 2/4/04. In Gay Today 6/16/03, author Jack Nichols said of Flag & The Rainbow: "This cyclical l spirit of the 1960s lives in Sandy Rapp's songs. It is certainly the spirit of the Stonewall... evolving into anthems such as Sandy Rapp herself has composed." And in Gay City News 12/18-24'03 Jim Fouratt wrote: "Here we have Old School Women's Music... A couple of generations of artists lived and breathed this tradition, but very few ever crossed over into big time success. [These] songs about reproductiverights, Stonewall, the environment, and even Bella Abzug, [represent] a lifetime of experiences that made possible being out, a woman, and a musician." 'Ballad Of Billy Baird,' bios the reproductive rights pioneer. 'Roilin' Waters' and 'Ill, The Winds' decry nukes. An updated 'Everyone Was At Stonewall' chronicles the history of the gay movement; and a new short version of 'Remember Rose: A Song For Choice' recalls the first backstreet fatality of the Medicaid-Abortion cutoff and features a guest vocal by Congresswoman, Bella Abzug. Another tune provides an intimate look into Bella's remarkable Marlene Dietrick impressions. Others songs celebrate Camp SisterSpirit, and 'Manhattan Cowgirl' salutes Eleanor Roosevelt biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook.