"Girls in Trouble": Indie rock as midrash
I tend to be wary of educational musical acts, especially those that sound like they were written by teachers trying to be "cool." But after a quick listen, it is obvious that "Girls in Trouble" is far, far more than a simple "101" on biblical women.
Life-long musician Alicia Jo Rabins recently spoke with Tablet about her new band, "Girls in Trouble," which actually began as her thesis for a Masters in Jewish Women's Studies. Rabins focuses on the lesser-known stories of women in the bible, many of them dark, romantic or mystical. Instead of writing a traditional essay, Rabins wrote songs. Those songs turned into a complete album entitled "Girls in Trouble," and a new indie rock band by the same name. The album was released at the end of October.
What is really special about "Girls in Trouble" is the way Rabins engages with the tradition of midrash. She not only tells stories, but she adds both empathy and analysis, helping us to feel how these women might have felt, and showing what we might learn from them.
I delved into Tablet's interview with Alicia Jo Rabins today, and was surprised at how little I actually knew on the subject of biblical women. Rabins tells the stories of Bat Yiftach and Tamar, two incredible women that were never mentioned at my Hebrew school. She also tells stories of well-known women, like Miriam, but chooses to focus on the lesser-known parts of their stories. (Did you know that Miriam was stricken with leprosy and exiled as punishment for criticizing Moses? I didn't!) As someone who was never particularly captivated by bible stories, Alicia Jo Rabins' approach has got me listening.
Click here to listen to the Tablet podcast.
You can also watch Rabins perform her song "Hunter" below.