Photo by Erika Rado
. .thought provoking, zany, reaffirming music. They are fun, tremendously
inspiring, and a joy to hear."
REBEL VOICES, featuring Susan Lewis and Janet Stecher, immerse their audience in a program of songs, humor and theater woven together with wit and intricate harmonies. Whether focusing on women or working people's lives, their repertoire of 100 gems of the last 100 years illuminates real stories of real people: Rosy the Riveter - revisited, South African miners striking in solidarity with US workers, grade school kids organizing their school. The audience leaves cheering, reaffirmed and energized.
" On the heels of Nirvana, the next
big Seattle group
to make a national splash should be
the folk duo, Rebel Voices." KDVS-FM, Davis, CA
For over twenty years, Susan Lewis and Janet Stecher have created incredible harmony as members of The Belles of Hoboken, Shays' Rebellion, and since 1989, Rebel Voices. They took their name from the book by Joyce Kornbluh, Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology, a collection of writings, songs, poems, and cartoons by members of the Industrial Workers of the World. "Wobblies" have always been rabble rousers, unionists, artists, and singers who attack the issues of their time with passion and humor. This same spirit moves Rebel Voices today as they sing out for social and economic justice.
Rebel Voices concerts and workshops present the struggles and triumphs of real people - - workers from many lands and many times. Included too, are the voices of today's rebels: union activists, gays and lesbians, pro-choice advocates, environmental activists, persons with disabilities and those who are usually powerless and therefore too frequently voiceless: children, immigrants, political prisoners. With an integrated vision of theater, harmony and politics, Janet Stecher and Susan Lewis fill the stage with rare power and compassion.
Susan, although " born (and professionally trained) to be a dancer," was fortunately convinced by Janet that she could use her voice as well as her feet. Susan has taught creative movement, drama and/or music in Winnipeg as a Canada Council grant recipient, in New York, for the United Nations International School, and in Novosibirsk, Siberia, through the YMCA International Exchange Program. Meeting people of other cultures confirmed her belief in the need for world harmony, and working with Shays' Rebellion introduced her to the labor movement, which further awakened her growing passion for social justice. Add the influence of life with husband Mark Graham and daughter Emily, and you have the major elements that have molded Susan's personal growth as well as her philosophical grounding. As life and art become one, Susan says "When Emily was 7, she came in from play, singing "Solidarity Forever" mixed in with the words of "I've Been Working on the Railroad". I realized then that I must be doing something right!"
Janet was born into a musical family with a strong social conscience where critical thought and creative endeavor were a natural combination. Years of travel coordinating international exchange programs led her to a deep appreciation of other cultures and an understanding of how our own country's foreign and domestic policies impact the lives of most of the world. "I feel that along with the resulting privilege comes the responsibility to do something about the imbalances we've created in world." She has lived collectively since 1983 and has spent most of that time managing an alternative health care facility. As a long-term board member of the Pacific NW Labor History Association and the founding musical director of the Seattle Labor Chorus, Janet has continued to combine her strong interests in culture, politics and community. Janet's exploration of a broad variety of vocal styles (Balkan, Indian, Cajun and musical comedy) has given wide range to her very fine voice. "With Susan in Rebel Voices, we have found a way of giving voice to the values that really matter to us both. And we have such a good time too."
Susan Lewis and Janet Stecher are members in good standing of Local 1000 of the American Federation of Musicians.
"You are two of the reasons that we continue to put in the
time and effort to keep a coffee house series alive."
Ed Brown, U&I Coffeehouse Concert Series, Springfield, MA
Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle, WA
Festa Avante!, Lisbon, Portugal
Hudson River Clearwater Revival Festival, Valhallah, NY
Mayworks Festival, Vancouver, BC
Raise Your Banners Festival of Political Song, Sheffield, England
Rhode Island Labor & Ethnic Heritage Festival, Pawtucket, RI
Vancouver Folk Festival, Vancouver, BC
SCHOOLS & COLLEGES
Cooper Union, Benefit for NYC Labor Chorus, New York City
Cornell University, New York State School Of Industrial Labor Relations, Ithaca, NY
Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA
Lawrence University, Appleton, WI
The Evergreen State College, Olympia,WA
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Webster University, St. Louis, MO
Cafe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY
Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA
Loaf & Ladel, Exeter, NH
The Palms, Davis, CA
U & I Coffeehouse, Springfield, MA
& COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
The Association for Persons With Severe Handicaps, Seattle, WA
Coalition of Labor Union Women, San Francisco
Aerospace Machinists (IAM), Seattle & Everett, WA
Local Solutions to Global Pollution, Berkeley
Martin Luther King Coalition, Manchester, NH
Peace Econmy Project, St. Louis, MO
Portland Folklore Society, Portland, OR
Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz, CA
Springfiled Trades & Labor Council, Springfield, IL
Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Seattle, WA
CONFERENCES & CONVENTIONS
AFL-CIO "Ask a Working Woman" Conference, Washington DC
IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) Centennial Conference, Chicago, IL
Service Employees International Union National Convention, Las Vegas, NV
Service Employees' International Union (SEIU) District 1199 Southeast, Charleston, WV
National Lawyers Guild Convention, Seattle, WA
University And College Labor Educators' Association, Portland, OR
Western Progressive Leadership Conference, Saratoga, WY
A Rebel Voices Miniresidency consists of a full concert and a 1-2 hour workshop (i.e., American Studies Seminar on Women's or Labor History, an interactive harmony workshop, a high school assembly.) Rebel Voices would be happy to tailor their large repertoire to your campus' or conference's particular needs. A complete description is available.
"Janet and Susan are accomplished musicians, inspiring entertainers, and movement educators all wrapped into one great duo. You'll love them too!" -Dan Lahey, Director, Labor Education and Research Center, The Evergreen State College, Olympia
Click on the links below to see detailed information (song titles, songwriter credits, etc.) on each of the CDs we have recorded.
Interested in purchasing a Rebel Voices recording? Please select your preferred payment method below:
Pay by Credit Card - This link will send you to CDBaby.com, where you can order our CDs. They take VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover Card. They'll mail the CD directly to you, and your credit card will be charged to CDBaby.com (NOT Rebel Voices).
Pay by Check - You can order both CDs and cassette tapes directly from us, but we can only accept checks.
If you want a cassette tape of any of our recordings, you will need to order through us directly at the "Pay by Check" link.
RAISE YOUR BANNERS COMPILATION (Includes tracks by Roy Bailey; Attila the Stockbroker; Frankie Armstrong; Ray Hearne; Tom Robinson; Rebel Voices; Robb Johnson; Faith Petric; Julie McNamara; Alistair Hulett; Black Voices; Leon Rosselson; Kath Tait; Coope, Boyes & Simpson; Holly Near; Tommy Sands; Sandra Kerr; Dick Gaughan; and Billy Brag) RYB Records, 2001. For more information, click here.
A CENTURY OF LABOR SONGS (Includes tracks by Joe Glazer, Frank Romano, The Whiteville Choir, Leadbelly, Kirk Kelly, JoeUehline, John McCutcheon, Bev Grant). Produced by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of their union, 2004.
ANNE FEENEY - Have You Been to
Jail for Justice? Anne Feeney, 2000
DAVID ROTH - Irreconcilable Similarities. Maythelight Music, 1999
ROB LOPRESTI - The Same Old Surprise. Rob Lopresti, 1996
LINDA ALLEN - Lay It Down. October Rose, 1996
CHARLIE KING - The Senseless Laughter of Whales/Ship in the Sky. Vaguely Reminiscent Sounds, 1996
LOU TRUSKOFF - Leave No One Behind: Songs for Survival. Fair Budget Action Campaign, 1995.
LINDA ALLEN - A Seamless Connection. Wade in the Rain, 1994
OFF CENTER - Audio Update for Labor Leaders. George Meany Center for Labor Studies, Spring 1992
JOHN O'CONNOR - Unravelin'. Flying Fish, 1991
LEO KRETZNER - Not So Still Life. Heartwood, 1990
JOHN O'CONNOR - We Ain't Gonna Give It Back: Songs for the Labor Movement.
Collector Records, 1989
HEIDI MULLER - Matters of the Heart. Cascadia Music, 1989
SHAYS' REBELLION - Daniel Shays' Highway. Flying Fish, 1987
DOUG WATERMAN - The Political Song. Fast Folk, May, 1983
BELLES OF HOBOKEN - Love Songs. Fast Folk, Vol. 2, #5, June, 1983
BELLES OF HOBOKEN - Humor in Song. Fast Folk, Vol. 2, #3, April, 1983
BELLES OF HOBOKEN - Live at the SpeakEasy. Fast Folk, Vol. 1, #8 Sept. 1982
BELLES OF HOBOKEN - Women in Song. Fast Folk, November, 1982
· WE WORK EVERYWHERE - Service Employees' International Union (SEIU- Local 6 documentary). 1992
· ART IN THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM - Abe Osheroff (Spanish Civil War documentary). 2000
"One of the greatest singing
duos of our time.
Rich harmonies, wonderful stage presence, and humor.
I'm proud to share a stage with them any time." - Si Kahn
vocal harmonies combined with incisive and penetrating social commentary."
- Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle, WA
"For anyone who wants to champion
and appreciate working women, there is no better voice than Rebel Voices. They
make history live and reflect our lives with power, incredible harmonies
- Karen Nussbaum, Director
Working Women's Department, AFL-CIO
vocal duo Rebel Voices exemplifies the best of the folk tradition...presenting
these songs with power, style, and artistry. Janet Stecher and Susan Lewis
create a wonderfully big vocal sound, with arrangements that are as intricate
and subtle as they are thrilling."
-Richard Middleton, Victory Music Review
" . . . their biggest contribution
to the art was to take good songs and work them into quality performances.
Rebel Voices works like a jeweller - - creating the right setting for a
- Art Farquharson Local Motion, Victoria, BC
"They weave humor, insight and conviction into their resonant voices and send us back to the world renewed" - Vancouver Folk Festival
". . .(they bring) ringing, resonant
voices . . .
to music that inspires, sobers, tickles and thought provokes."
- Maureen Jackson, Victory Review
Photo by Jim Levitt
Last revised: February, 2016