There is just something about the music that all-girl bands churn out. Don’t get us wrong, boy bands are just as great, but each leave a different kind of impact on its listeners. I mean, just think back to Backstreet Boys versus The Spice Girls. Though, you have to admit that female bands often have to fight through a lot of generalization and stereotyping to even begin making a mark.
Especially if we go back a decade or so to take a closer look at the music industry. And even more so, if we take a look at the Indian music scene.
Which is why we’d like to discuss this girl band from the 70s. The Ladybirds, a four person music group that was the first Indian all-female-member music band.
The group was created by Farida Vakil, who was also the lead guitarist of the band. The other members of the band were Merlyn, the drummer and a great friend of Vakil’s, Zarina, the rhythm player & Jenny, who played the bass. She created the group while still in school at St Joseph’s Convent in Bandra.
At a time when the Indian music scene was pretty much dominated by male bands such as The Savages, The Combustibles, and The Mystiks, The Ladybirds were a breath of fresh air. And it is extremely endearing to hear that Vakil’s father acted as the band’s manager. He often found gigs and contracts for them all. In fact, he bought Farida an electric guitar at the age of sixteen to support her passion fully.
In an interview, The Ladybirds’ lead guitarist cum vocalist mentioned how she had exposure to international music from a young age. All thanks to her older sister, who worked in the airlines and so, brought back a lot of records from her travels.
My sister worked in the airlines. she used to bring back a lot of records, jazz, Latin American, Spanish, tango, flamenco.
-Farida Vakil told Arjun S Ravi
The Ladybirds, one of India’s first all-girl bands, 1969— Daak (@DaakVaak) March 14, 2022
At the age of 16, Farida Vakil (2nd picture), while still at St Joseph’s Convent in Bandra, formed one of India’s first all-girl beat groups. She served as the lead guitarist and vocalist.
Source: Vogue pic.twitter.com/vx9WypymfB
As the years went on The Ladybirds drifted apart for various reasons. But Vakil proceeded to join The Riot Squad, a beat music group, which she remained a part of until she got married in 1973.
You can know more about the history of the Indian music scene in this docuseries by Arjun S Ravi.