We interviewed Prof Jeune Guishard-Pine, OBE, about the Venus Band: an all-female multicultural, group. Their gig at the Hideaway (in aid of raising funds for a statue of Mary Seacole to be put up outside St Thomas Hospital) on the Wednesday 5th March was a tremendous success.
LondonJazz: How did the idea of the Venus Band come about ?
Jeune Guishard-Pine: I have a very fertile mind and I’m always thinking about innovation. So, after the last charity show which Courtney [Pine] did for Mary Seacole, I thought it would be good for female Jazz Warriors to do a homage to her and it snowballed from there. It was me who named the Jazz Warriors, so the name Venus Warriors was very easy to conceptualise and was perfect.
LJ: Who is involved?
JG-P: Conceptually it is my idea but creatively it is Courtney’s and the empresses who crafted the music. It is a 10-piece band: the original warrior Juliet Roberts -voice; Cheryl Alleyne – drums; Shirley Tetteh -guitar; Ruth Goller – basses; Renu Hossain – percussion; Sara Dhillon -piano; Nubya Garcia – tenor sax; Rosie Turton – trumpet; Camilla George – alto sax and Delphina ‘Panness’ James – steelpans.
LJ: How was the launch gig?
JG-P: It was inspirational and highly enjoyable. Everyone was there was there for the right reasons- to support and encourage women to do something typically associated with males and to hold their own!
LondonJazz: Do you consider that the overall contribution of women, and ethnic minority women in particular, is generally overlooked?
Jeune Guishard-Pine: Yes. We should all work harder to increase the visibility of women who have made significant contributions to British society. Venus Warriors and Mary Seacole will soon have a special part in UK history in common as pioneers!