Scarlett Jane—The Every Woman Band
Culture / August 28, 2015
“The universe was telling us to start a chick band. And that’s what we did.”
Scarlett Jane might sound like the name of a jazz singer, wrapped up in a beautiful red dress and crooning torch songs in a blues bar for a dozen candle-light patrons. Or maybe she’s the folk singer at the head of the movement, rearranging traditional ballads at sit-ins to keep the protesters’ spirits up.
Scarlett Jane could be both of these women, and so many more. So says Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire, who performed as the band Scarlett Jane at the 38th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival at Jericho Beach Park.
Although both highly accomplished and talented musicians, Ramolo and Doire did not get involved with music as young as you might think.
“We didn’t start music so early, we kind of dabbled in the arts and both of us have university degrees in languages and literature,” says Ramolo. “I actually grew up as a competitive dancer, went into acting and then I went into music.”
As for Doire, her father bought her a guitar as a teenager, but it wasn’t until many years later that she actually entered the music scene with the release of her first album. Doire’s premiere solo effort was in French, while Romolo’s was in English—a division that proved to be both a draw and a complication for their eventual collaboration.
“We have kind of been growing and evolving at the same time,” claims Ramolo. “But we never got to hang out together because I was touring east to west and she’d be over in France, so we sort of created these mini friendship duo tours when times were slow with our solo touring,” says Ramolo.
As a result, the two musicians ended up locking themselves in a garage in the country for weeks at a time where they “learned all of each others’ material” and how to back each other up on tour. While the act of collaborative songwriting was something the two naturally carried out over the course of years, the impetus to form a duo act came out of something difficult that arose simultaneously in their lives.
“There was one particular summer when we both left our partners, and they were pretty monumental breakups so we just thought the universe was telling us this is the time to get together and start a chick band. And that’s what we did,” says Ramolo. “Our partners at the time were playing music with us individually, so we ended up leaning on each other and we’ve been together ever since.”
As in great musical fashion, both escaped to Mexico in 2011 and began writing music. This time, though, they wrote with the idea of performing as a duet in mind. Their collaborative energy seemed almost second nature to them, though as Ramolo explains, “There’s always hurdles in any relationship or marriage, so Cindy and me are kind of like life partners at this point. There are things we go through that any major relationship goes through, and now songwriting comes more easily to us.”
The name Scarlett Jane itself came out of an understanding about female duality. “It’s kind of like in one voice and one heart and one mind, even though we’re two women,” explains Ramolo. “So we created this persona of every woman—Scarlett is the passion, the sensuality and fury, all of the minor key songs we’re so drawn to. And then Jane is the every woman like Jane Doe—the strength behind everyone.”
Although the band’s persona is female, the music is designed to be accessible to every gender as the duo write songs about such universal topics as love, loss and belonging. As Doire points out, “We actually pull from many different genres. It’s one cohesive sound with many different elements that we’re constantly resolving over time.”
As a continuous touring schedule and a recent trip to Cuba ended with the duo planning the release of their second album, Scarlett Jane’s candid and vulnerable approach to music is something which continues to connect with audiences. For Doire, their connection with others, “Comes from a real place, and that’s a huge part of who we are, as artists on this journey.”