The Bahrain-born philosopher challenged norms with her groundbreaking feminist debut book in 2021. Here, she discusses the “ravishingly beautiful” Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares and how music is a “reminder of all that can’t be put into words”
This article is taken from the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue of AnOther Magazine:
“There is only one response to hearing Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares for the first time – a desperate need to consume it whole. The album was released in 1975 by the Swiss label Disques Cellier and is made up of recordings of the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. The choir’s founder was tasked in the 1950s by the Soviet puppet regime to modernise Bulgaria’s folk music. Its repertoire is ravishingly beautiful. The dissonant harmonies of traditional vocal music are brought together with avant-garde elements. Girls’ voices blend with mature women’s in songs that rocket from joy to grief to yearning. Ivo Watts-Russell, the founder of the British label 4AD, was first played some of Mystère by a friend who had been given a mixtape with no song or artist listings. Watts-Russell says that his knees buckled – he had to find out what this was. He eventually did and 4AD released Mystère in 1986. I listen to music as a counter to philosophy, as a reminder of all that can’t be put into words. Mystère is a reminder of just how much that is.”
In 2021, the Bahrain-born philosopher Amia Srinivasan skewered everything we have been encouraged to believe about modern sexuality with her debut book, The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century. Careful, challenging and astute, it probes problems with pornography, consent and sex positivity, as well as with the #MeToo movement. Much of the book was inspired by conversations Srinivasan has had with her students at Oxford University, where she is currently the Chichele professor of social and political theory at All Souls College – the youngest person, and first woman, to hold this highly prestigious role.
Hair: Claire Grech at Streeters using DAVINES. Make-up: Isobel Kennedy using NARS. Photographic assistant: Max Hayter. Post-production: She Post Production. Printing: Moderne Lab
This story features in the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale internationally now. Buy a copy here.