Sassy Sisters with Host Zoe Fayaud and Special Guest Eliane Correa
Cuban Timba musician and composer Eliane Correa and Filmmaker Zoe Fayaud have been supporting one another's careers through creative collaborations over the past three years. From music videos to live shows, Zoe can often be found behind the camera, capturing Eliane as she lights up the stage. As pioneers in bringing attention to global culture within the UK, both artists use their skills to passionately reinvent the often narrow scripts of music and film. Tackling topics of oppression, and gender inequality, Eliane and Zoe actively spotlight and celebrate culture from Cuba to Palestine and beyond.
In this podcast episode, we hear Zoe talk with Eliane about using art to create social change, pinpointing topics such as immigration and feminism. As well as the motivations that have led both women to drive forward their careers. Tune in to relish in the stories these two women share, providing us with uplifting examples of how, by working together, epic creations are made possible.
Zoe Fayaud first met Eliane Correa three years ago at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Bar, while researching for her documentary about Cuban musicians in London. "I saw Eliane perform with her band La Evolución and I was starstruck! It was the beginning of our friendship and professional collaboration". From there, Eliane and Zoe's relationship evolved, connecting over their mutual love of music and passion to celebrate culture. As Eliane shared her knowledge about Cuba, Zoe reciprocated by introducing Eliane to the world of Palestinian musicians she has been documenting and working with throughout the past few years.
As a filmmaker, I feel when I put out projects it resonates with people, it's a language I'm good at and sparks interest with others. That allows me to enter different worlds - Zoe
With similar upbringings, Zoe and Eliane related over the experience of spending their formative and adult years living in various parts of the world. For Eliane, moving from Luxembourg to Cuba, Buenos Aires, and Barcelona, she explains how "The fact that I feel at home in so many countries for so many different things - I find it interesting... When you have such a mixed-up background and you've moved around so much, I feel like it frees me from the barriers of expectations". Explaining how she still gets stereotyped a lot based on her heritage, Eliane also emphasises how "I've been able to build a fortress of my own little country in my head thanks to all of that." For Zoe, being born in Thailand before moving to Cambodia, Mali and Tanzania, she notes how "I never realised it was out of the norm until I came to Europe, because [previously] all my friends were like me, traveling with their parents for work." Since moving to the UK, Zoe notes how these global movements have shaped her interests and the people she chooses to spend time with. "I think you're a product of your environment so these experiences and places you spend years living in become part of your fabric".
When you have such a mixed-up background and you've moved around so much, I feel like it frees me from the barriers of expectations - Eliane
As women who work in male-dominated industries, both Eliane and Zoe confidently use their art to vocalise this reality and share their feminist ideologies. Zoe explains how "feminism for me is about having choices, ownership and agency as a woman. Which is not a done deal for all the women on this earth yet and that's why feminism is still so important." Having an awareness of how women's rights differ from country to country is something that drives Zoe to continue pushing forward conversations about female rights. Similarly, Eliane explains "For me, feminism is this path we're on where your gender stops being a thing, so everyone can do what they want to do and gender doesn't play into it. It isn't a part of how people perceive you or treat you." For Eliane, having often found herself as the only woman in the recording studio, she recognises the progress that has happened in the past decade, "I feel like we're slowly getting a voice and women are feeling normal whilst doing things that before were not considered normal. It boils down to having a choice." This is something that truly shines through in Eliane's music, with many of her lyrics advocating for female liberation and confidence.
For me, feminism is this path we're on where your gender stops being a thing; so everyone can do what they want and gender doesn't play into it - Eliane
The most recent project that Zoe and Eliane collaborated on was 'Yo No Me Voy', a song that Eliane wrote as a celebration of Latino immigrants in the UK and the global north in general. "I feel like we are generally underseen and underrepresented. So this song was a way to tell our people we see you, we are here for you, we are together." Eliane wanted to develop a music video that documented people's movement from their home country to abroad and so approached Zoe to film the project into reality. They took three years to gather all the footage, working with people in multiple countries, and the final project is the most powerfully intensional mini-film about the story that unites all the Latino immigrants everywhere. You can watch the film below in the tracklist.
'Yo No Me Voy' is a celebration of Latino immigrants in the UK and the global north in general. I feel like we are generally underseen and underrepresented. So this song was a way to tell our people we see you, we are here for you, we are together - Eliane
With such powerful messages feeding into both artists' work, it is inspiring to hear Eliane and Zoe support one another on their own individual journeys. Recognising how freelancing as artists can come with it's challenges, Zoe explains how her motivation often comes from a fear of leaving her potential unfulfilled. Determined to work on more projects that resonate with her on a personal level, Zoe expresses how "I want to do more socially conscious and engaged projects. I think that's the purpose of art, to use your platform to combat stereotypes". For Eliane, her own motivations echo this idea, in her desire to "change the world!" From the joy her music brings into people's day, to the culture she is supporting and celebrating, Eliane's work is forever seeped in conscientious love. With her upcoming album, recorded with her Timba band, La Evolución, due to be released in the coming weeks, we can expect to see and hear more wonderful collaborations between these two artists. For now, we encourage you to sit back and learn from the stories these two artists are sharing, one song at a time.
Eliane and Zoe's Tracklist
Rasha Nahas - Desert
Eliane Correa & La Evolución Orchestra - La Reina
WARA - Yo No Me Voy
Ruba Shamshoum - Burkan
Sofree Ft. Eliane Correa - Tus Olas