Bananarama discuss being ‘sidelined and disregarded’ as women as they release new album
In a new interview ahead of their album release, Bananarama members Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin have opened up about the misogyny they faced during the early days of their career.
Speaking to the Telegraph (opens in new tab), Keren and Sara opened up about not being 'taken seriously' as performers and the misogyny that is still present in the music industry.
"We were viewed as three little girls jumping around dancing and singing," said Sara Dallin. "Our career wasn’t necessarily taken seriously. And when I look back, I think we had great pop songs and all of them were hits. Why were we not afforded the respect that we should have been? We never won anything at the Brits. There were so few females around, we were almost sidelined and disregarded."
Keren added that misogyny was widespread in the industry as she touched on some of the key themes of the Me Too movement, which worked to highlight sexual abuse in the music and film industry. "The whole industry suffered massive amounts of sexism in lots of different forms, whether it was a comment or a brush of a hand or whatever." She added, "It was just the way it was."
The star then added that thankfully things are being spoken about now, which was not happening in the 80s at the height of Bananarama's fame. "In hindsight, we made a stand in our own way by just getting on with it, but almost to the point where you ignore it and don’t bring it to other people’s attention. It’s fantastic that it has been now, so other girls won’t stand for that sort of thing. It’s a shame it didn’t happen sooner but I’m glad it has," said Keren.
Who are the members of Bananarama?
When Bananarama was formed in 1980, the band consisted of Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward, and Siobhan Fahey. The trio worked together for eight years until 1988 when Siobhan left to form the act Shakespears Sister, which became a duo a year later in 1989 with American singer Marcella Detroit.
After Siobhan left, Bananarama recruited singer Jacquie O'Sullivan. Jacquie stayed with the group until 1991. Following this Jacquie joined Slippry Feet with Paul Simper from 1992 to 1996.
In 2017, Siobhan rejoined Sara and Keren when they toured the UK and North America. Following this tour, the band has returned to a duo of just Sara and Keren who most recently released an album in 2019 titled In Stereo.
What happened to Bananarama and why did they break up?
Reportedly, the band originally split in 1988 because of Siobhan's fading interest in the band and their new producers, SAW (an English songwriting and record-producing trio consisting of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman).
In Keren and Sara's memoir, Really Saying Something, the singers said that Siobhan was looking for a way out of the band. "As time went on, we saw less and less of Siobhan. It felt like she’d lost interest in the band and the album, and the tensions between us were palpable," read the memoir.
"As Siobhan herself has often said about that time: ‘The rot had set in.’ It’s difficult to know if Dave’s [Siobhan Fahey’s husband Dave Stewart from the band Eurythmics] influence was a part of her decision to leave the band, but I think it’s fair to say he was no big fan of Stock, Aitken, and Waterman. Siobhan was looking for a way out, and Dave was offering the means of flight."
In the recent Telegraph interview, Keren said they [Keren and Sara] are still close friends with Siobhan. "We’ll always be friends with Siobhan. I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago and she’s brilliant and we adore her. But it’s always much easier with Sara and I, I don’t know why."
Jacquie reportedly left the band because of her lack of creative input in the direction of the band.
The next album from Bananarama is titled Masquerade and will be released on July 22, 2022. On June 15, 2022, the duo released the song Masquerade as a single from the album, they also released the song Favourite from the upcoming album on 29 April 2022.