Ten Unusual Female Singing Voices

January 23, 2013 · 13 comments

I’m not someone who listens to commercial music, preferring to seek out musicians who have their own sound.  Here are ten female singers from around the world who don’t just sing beautifully, but use their voice expressively and/or as an instrument in its own right.

Spanish: Estrella Morente – Coquinas (live)

South African: Miriam Makeba – Amampondo

Native American: Ulali – Mother

Hawaiian: Rose Moe – Mai Kai No Kauai

Ethiopian: Aster Aweke – Tizita

[Listen Directly on YouTube]

American: Joanna Newsom – Colleen

Scottish: Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas

New Zealander: Kimbra – Settle Down

French: Nouvelle Vague – Too Drunk to Fuck

American: Janelle Monáe – Violet Stars Happy Hunting!

Music can be so powerful, can’t it?  Who would you have added to this list?  I eagerly await your recommendations and suggestions!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hedders January 23, 2013 at 20:27

Dear old Cocteau Twins…

I must admit, I’d have been a bit more mainstream, and gone for:
Mamma Cass
Janis Joplin
Polly Harvey (does she still go by PJ?)
Amy Ray (Indigo Girls)
Kate Bush (who else would have had the sheer front to release their debut single in an almost unlistenably high register?)
Tori Amos
Liz Phair

and, of course, the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald. Sometimes people are megastars for a reason …


2 Hedders January 23, 2013 at 20:29

Oh, and, by the by, I just noticed your sidebar with That Quote from JSM. Word.


3 Lauren January 23, 2013 at 22:21



4 Lauren January 23, 2013 at 22:21

I can’t believe I didn’t think of Kate Bush! Especially considering how the song Wuthering Heights came to mind — but I was thinking of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s cover: do you know it?

And Ella’s scatting in Blue Skies should have made it… #LaurenFail

As for the others, I will have to check them out. Part two? Fancy doing a guest post?!


5 Elisa June 22, 2014 at 13:56

Phew! I got scared! Please make part two and put Kate in it!!


6 Lauren June 22, 2014 at 14:20

Ha! Alright, maybe I will… who else would you include?


7 Tina January 27, 2013 at 02:55

Wow…I’m getting old…I still listen to Mama Cass and Janis, and a few others… Miriam Mikeba, Ulali (of course!), Nouvelle Vague and Janelle Monae all are good…Kimbra is the one that really got my attention though…That was intense. Yael Naim is another one that got my attention recently with that “She Was a Boy” song…Interesting lyrics! One of the things I love about this blog is you’re always coming up with new things and never stuck in a box! Have a great week!


8 Evelyn February 4, 2013 at 10:11

It’s a pleasure to have a friend as cool as you are.


9 Lauren February 5, 2013 at 07:50

How mutual the feeling is, love xx


10 Waitingforthesquirt March 3, 2013 at 14:40

Here are a few that come to mind!

Lykke Li
Lisa Gerrard
Diamonda Galas
The Knife


11 Lauren March 6, 2013 at 12:36

Cool!! Thank you! I like Lykke Li.


12 malcolm May 14, 2013 at 13:33

Yma Sumac…also Diamanda Galas. Yma sadly passed on ..five octave vocal range…


13 Lauren May 16, 2013 at 12:19

Thanks, Malcolm! I just discovered Yma, she’s great, isn’t she?


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