Scandi alternative/dark pop artist Bonander, is a perfect example of female empowerment within music, as she challenges gender norms and shackles of patriarchy, as she remembers forgotten Scandinavian women, in her haunting and, goosebump-inducing single ‘Smile’.
The music video which features historic women and transwomen – Ada Nilsson, Anna Margret Holmgren, Anna Whitlock, Elin Wägner, Elise Ottesen Jensen, Elsa Laula, Ester Blenda Nordström, Karin Boye, Karolina Wideström, Kata Dahlström, Katarina Taikon, Lili Elbe, Siri Derkert, Sofia Gumaelius – is backed by slow-build instrumentals.
With her angelic vocals, the song, taken from her new EP ‘It’s A Girl’, addresses the patriarchal shackles around women within society. It is about the expectations placed on women to always smile and stay pretty. About how a women’s pain is hidden away- never for the world to see. It’s a pain, ignored and with time, forgotten.
Having honed her skills from all over Sweden, and with her jazz background, Bonander has a sound that pushes boundaries while still remaining accessible.
Experimental with both her music and the message she conveys through it, her mission is to affect people with her art, allowing the listener to emotionally connect with music in the same way that she has all her life; and with ‘Smile’ she succeeds, at every point.
Beginning with the phrase “He said I should” and ending with “What did he say?”, the song makes you wonder why we so often let ourselves be guided through life by the words of others- man or not.
This is the theme of Bonander’s upcoming debut EP, ‘It’s A Girl’, set to be released on 23rd March: gender against a dark, dreamlike backdrop exploring anger, frustration and despair juxtaposed with a feeling of escape, acceptance and empowerment – it’s a journey through the uncertainty of the female identity in 2018.
Watch the video for ‘Smile’ below ;