30 Piece Women’s Vocal Ensemble, Conspiracy of Venus, Storms New York!
Guest post by Clay Smith
When a choir drops an album, you might expect some dull, classical numbers that’d please your grandma. What you’ll get instead from Conspiracy of Venus, a rollicking, bad-ass vocal ensemble of 30 women from San Francisco, is a collection of unique and artful arrangements of songs from the likes of Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Tom Waits, Bjork, and others. SF Weekly called the group’s new album, Muse Ecology, “cerebral, moving, and experimental.”
The story of Conspiracy of Venus is one of friendship, art, and rebellion against convention. In 2008, the life of singer, pianist, composer and musicologist Joyce McBride changed drastically when her husband suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him with permanent cognitive damage. Suddenly, Joyce was the sole caregiver for an adult who didn’t remember what had happened to him and who needed 24 hour care. Her husband suffered seizures and Joyce found herself taking frequent trips to the ER, where her husband endured harrowing hospital stays. As a woman and a spouse, Joyce felt pressured to give up everything, including her music. But one thing she could not let go of Conspiracy of Venus, which she had helped found the year before as a the sister group to the men’s chorus Conspiracy of Beards (who perform only the songs of Leonard Cohen). Directing the choir provided Joyce with a creative outlet that reaffirmed her identity as an artist and nurtured her at a time when her needs and feelings seemed irrelevant. CoV is more than a group of singers, it’s a joyful community of fearless, feminist women.
In July of 2014, the members of Conspiracy of Venus raised $26,000 in four weeks through a crowdfunding campaign, which was used to finance the recording of their first album, Muse Ecology (produced by Lolly Lewis and recorded by Alberto Hernandez at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA). The album, which includes nine covers and three originals, was released in February. The group is now touring NYC with three shows:
Friday, May 20th at the Rockwood Music Hall, 7 PM. Tickets can be purchased here.
Saturday, May 21st at the Jalopy Theater, 9 PM. Tickets can be purchased here.
Sunday, May 22nd at the Highline Ballroom, 12 PM. Tickets can be purchased here.