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Dominatrix

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São Paulo, Brazil (1995 – present)

Dominatrix is an underground feminist band from São Paulo, Brazil, formed in end of 1995. The band is considered the precursor of the riot grrrl movement in the country.

Led by vocalist and guitarist Elisa Gargiulo, the band has a catchy, melodic punk rock with good female choir and lyrics talking mainly about girl self-control and unity. Dominatrix’s initially compositions were in English. Their influences come from bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Smears and Hole.

Around 1996, sisters Elisa and Isabella Garguilo started a band that began to perform at various ‘DIY’ venues throughout São Paulo under the name Dominatrix. The band recorded a handful of demos and eventually went on to release their debut album, Girl Gathering, in 1997, which sold out in only nine months.

Dominatrix addressed the prevailing issues of sexism and machismo in Brazil’s punk scene in songs throughout Girl Gathering, like “Patriarchal Laws” and “My New Gun”, incorporating elements of street punk into their sound. The band followed up with another full length album in 1998 entitled Self-Delight, and began touring throughout Europe, eventually making their way to the US in 2003 and performing at venues such as Berkeley’s well-renowned ‘DIY’ space, 924 Gilman Street.

Though Dominatrix started as a street punk-influenced riot grrrl band, the band began to stray from the sound on records like Girl Gathering and Self-Delight. 2003’s Beauville and 2009’s Quem Defende Pra Calar featured the inclusion of songs written and performed in Portuguese.

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