Voices For Causes

Zeenab Aneez – Hindu – Monday, 10 February 2014 (originally published 09 Feb)

Amy and Elizabeth Ziff and Alyson Palmer
Amy and Elizabeth Ziff and Alyson Palmer. Image: Nagara Gopal / The Hindu

For Amy Ziff (vocals, cello), Alyson Palmer (vocals, electric bass) and Elizabeth Ziff (vocals, guitar) of BETTY, being part of a band has always meant more than playing great music together. The artist-activists were in the city as art envoys of the US State Department to raise awareness on the causes they stand for including equality and gender violence. They could not have come at a better time. BETTY got together in the late Eighties and have been an active voice for women’s empowerment, LGBT rights and equality from its inception in Washington D.C. 28 years ago. They were in the city to perform and conduct outreach programs on speaking out and working towards a better future.

“Our music isn’t necessarily very political, but we are very politicised,” clarifies Elizabeth, “we came together in Washington D. C. so when Regan was in office, so there was a lot of protesting and it was also when the AIDS epidemic began so we sang (to raise awareness) for that. We’ve also always been very feminist, singing for feminist issues, pro-choice and women’s empowerment but our songs are about love and food and sex and passion.”

BETTY’s activism, hence, lies in the framework of where they choose to perform, the causes they lend their voices to and the very fact that they are three empowered, vocal, passionate women. Also it’s been fun,” adds Elizabeth, “it wouldn’t have lasted this long if it weren’t” . . .

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