Music of Evlantis

All the sectors of the Queendom have musicians. Musicians are held in high esteem and concerts are held regularly in all kinds of venues: theaters, Gossip Parlors, and private homes of those with high status are a few of the most common. During the summer there are musical performances outdoors in each sector’s market place. Evlantians have all types of stringed instruments, wind instruments, drums, gongs and other percussion instruments.

Not only is music entertainment, but it is also an important and necessary part of the birthing process. It would be unthinkable to give birth without at least one musician or singer present to perform birthing songs during the delivery.

Each sector tends to specialize in a style of music, though every musician dabbles in all musical styles. The musical speciality of the Government sector is similar to our classical music. Their most popular songs are ballads celebrating the lives of women who have bettered Evlantis over its Herstory set to orchestral arrangements. Some have even been turned into popular musicals performed at theaters.

The Agriculture sector’s music is similar to our “new age” style music. It’s most popular song’s lyrics celebrate growth. It is neither easy to perform, nor to sing, but it captures the mystery and imagination in a way that no other sector’s music does. It frequently incorporates sounds of nature into its songs like bird calls, the sound of the ocean waves, or wind rushing through leaves.

The Religion sector’s style of music is soulful. It expresses the struggles that women face, and lyrics tend to be supplications to the goddesses to grant mothers and their daughters long and happy lives.

The Arts sector’s music is akin to our rock and roll. The Arts sector residents are the rebels of the Queendom and express it through music that awakens the senses, makes toes tap and bodies sway with abandonment. Its lyrics are sometimes bawdy, sometimes deep, and sometimes playful.

The music of the Livestock sector is extremely popular. It mixes upbeat music with lyrics that have repeating choruses that are catchy. Their lyrics typically celebrate life and the love between mothers and daughters.

The Soldier sector specializes in acapella sing-song chants. The origin of their music was based in marching trail chants from their nomadic period. Soldier sector music is derived from the one of the earliest forms of music in the woman’s world.

Photo by Evelyn from Pexels

Scholars teach that the earliest form of music was the lullaby. The number of lullabies in the woman’s world has never been catalogued, though some have tried. Singing a child to sleep is regarded as an art form and a sacred duty. Even women who  do not have children must be ready, at a moment’s notice, to help a mother with a sleepy child send their baby to dreamland with a song.

Letters to Harmonia, “response to Looking Out for Two”

Dear Harmonia,

photo from pixabay

I was blessed by the Goddess  Ephrea, the life giver, with twin daughters who are still very young. Well, everyone knows how rare it is to have twin daughters, and that two daughters are double the work of one! It’s a great responsibility to bring up girls that are a credit to our glorious Queendom. I am honored that the goddesses entrusted me with twins.

However, due to the findings of the last census, I’ve received a letter saying that my mother, who lives in a different sector than I do, must move into my household!

Harmonia, this is not fair! I know plenty of mothers who only have one daughter. Why can’t they be chosen to host their mother so that the correct amount of citizens can be housed in her sector? I understand the importance of the census, but why me? My hands are full and my mother is aged and needs almost as much care as my daughters do! Her neighbors are more than happy to look after her. Think of my poor mother! She will certainly be homesick if there is no way to forestall this reassignment!

And, most of all, think of my two daughters! How disrupted their lives will be! It isn’t fair to them, not at all. Tell me there is a way to stop this from happening, please, O wise Harmonia!

Looking Out for Two

Dear Looking Out,

Instead of Looking Out you should first Look Back, and then Look Forward.

You must look back to see that Evlantis was founded by Great Mother Eve and every law that has been passed, or stricken, from the record since then has been lovingly guided by the goddesses and the wisest of women. The committee that evalutates census results takes all factors into consideration before making its decisions on how to disperse our population so as best to serve the State. These are not haphazard or random assignmnents, but based on law, wisdom, and learning. Since Ephrea chose to bless you with two daughters, I must conclude she has blessed you with the wisdom to discern this truth, now that I have plainly laid it out for you! You must be a good daughter of the city and embrace your life-giving mother’s inclusion into your household with joy!

You must also Look Forward and see the profound message you are passing on to your double blessings. In the caring for your mother you are teaching them, by your own example, one of our most sacred precepts; that each woman’s life is holy. The burdens that come with a mother’s aging fall upon the daughter to bear. It is an honor that your mother has lived long enough to need your care.  Not to mention that your daughters will have the privilege of living with their Grandmother! Not many girls have that honor! Your worries about your mother being homesick are unfounded. You forget the old adage, “Home is where your family is.”

Beware, Looking Out, that the person you are really looking out for is yourself. Self-sacrifice is the highest calling of mothers. There is a special place in the afterlife that is only spoken of in shadows and whispers for the Daughter of Eve that abandons her duty to her mother.

Heed my words, young mother. There is still time for you to accept the wise assignment of the census committee with the proper attitude of  joy. There is no question that the decision can not, and should not, be changed.

Looking out for both your daughters and your mother,

Harmonia

P.S. Just in case my argument was not strong enough, having your mother join your household will increase your status. You may be eligible for better housing and more privileges. Please look into those possibilities. It may make your “burdens” easier to bear.

Theater in Evlantis

The Queendom of Evlantis has a thriving theater scene. The women’s world has volumes of plays and musicals which were handed down throughout Herstory. New material is always being written. Talented writers and actresses are held in high esteem. Every sector except the Soldier sector has its own community theater groups which put on productions in small venues. They also run soap-opera type shows during the day. Auditions attract women from all the sectors, but if a leading role goes to an actress from the Arts sector, then the success of the production is guaranteed.

The biggest and best of all the theaters in Evlantis is the Amphitheater of the Arts. The brightest stars perform there. The costumes are lavish, and a full time staff is employed to create them, and to keep them clean and well maintained. A variety of entertainment takes place at this venue: classic plays, new works, concerts and even titillating Fanny Dances, where men entertained crowds of women by dancing and removing most of their clothing. 

The glory days of the theater were, without a doubt, the years that a slave, Octovin, was allowed to oversee the productions. When he was a young man he was assigned to do heavy work in the theater. He was respectful and charming and soon became a favorite among the crew and actresses. Few women liked to work with the Fanny Dancers, and Herstory records that Octovin offered to take over the task and turned a barely attended pre-festival event into one of the most looked-forward to shows all year. While it wouldn’t be at all acceptable to admit it, many law-abiding citizens not eligible for quickening duty left the Fanny Dances Octovin produced wishing for one last tumble in a chamber. 

While Octovin would always be known as the Fanny Dance Master, behind the scenes he became consulted more and more. He had a flair for the dramatic. Productions in which he was heavily involved did well. Though a slave, he managed to create a comfortable life for himself. On his word, actresses rose and fell in fame. By the time he was in his forties he was, in all but name, running the Amphitheater of the Arts.

One of the Queendom’s most beloved stars, Sepheera of the Arts, was one of Octovin’s protégés. The bond between them was so close that Sepheera allowed Octovin to tend to her daughter, Sephora, who in turn, allowed Octovin to tend to her children. There is speculation among citizens about whether Sephora rose to the station of Low Queen of the Arts Sector with Octovin’s counsel, or whether he maintained his standing at the Amphitheater of the Arts because of Sephora.

Gossip Parlors

Instead of pubs, bars, or restaurants, the Queendom is rife with Gossip Parlors. Gossip Parlors keep women informed of events of the day as well as build a close knit community among its patrons. There are several key features every Gossip Parlor has in common. The walls inside the entrance to each parlor has boards for patronesses to post notices. There is always a large, round table in the center of the parlor for gossip circles. The round table seats twelve women at a time. Scattered around the parlor will be smaller tables that seat two to four people for more intimate gossip. There is reading material in the form of Gossip papers. A Gossip Parlor may publish its own Gossip paper, and/or may subscribe to papers that appeal to their patrons. Lastly, each parlor has a counter where patrons can order teas or fermented spirits, or, if the parlor offers it, snacks or meals.

The decor varies from sector to sector, and all parlors are tastefully decorated. Some are themed parlors. The most popular of the themed parlors in High Queen Rachel’s day celebrates the life of High Queen Cleopas the Wise. On display are many relics of her life and times. Patronesses of the parlor can rent clothing of that time period to wear, as well as have their hair styled. The regulars of this parlor tend to be academics. The discussions usually are spirited debates about philosophy and politics. It is part of the school curriculum to take field trips to themed Gossip Parlors in all the sectors, in part to learn about Herstory, and in part to be exposed to a variety of Gossip Parlors. It is common knowledge that when citizens are guests in other sector’s parlors it helps keep peace in the Queendom.

In every sector except the celibate sectors you can find Gossip Parlors that cater to mothers of children of certain ages. These tend to be small, homey places. Children are always welcome at these parlors, and there are strict are rules about language and topics of conversation so mothers can indulge in gossip without worrying about what their children will hear. For Gossip Parlors for mothers of younger children there are play nooks. For Gossip Parlors for mothers of older children there are study nooks, as well as child sized Gossip Circle tables for those girls interested in participating in the ritual of gossip early on in their lives. Often mothers will share wisdom about how to get through the trials of parenting, as well as share their triumphs, and brag about their daughters. 

During the day while children are in school, most Gossip Parlors offer classes to learn or master a hobby. Artisans from the Arts Sector may contract with a Parlor owner to teach drawing or painting to non-Arts Sector residents. Residents of the Government Sector may teach courses in the Law or in home organization. Doctors from the Agriculture sector sometimes teach first aid, or courses in holistic health. Farmers from the Agriculture offer classes in gardening. Women in the clothing industry from the Livestock sector teach weaving, sewing, knitting, crocheting and fine needle work. Soldiers run exercise and meditation classes. Priestesses offer classes in rituals to make supplications to the goddesses. 

At other times during the day there will be Gossip Circles: These may be scheduled, or, if there is big news, impromptu. Women with the highest status (or those who have paid dearly) get a place at a seat at the table, while others may stand around the table behind them to get a chance to hear the topic and participate in the discussion. 

The Notice Boards:

The boards located inside any Gossip Parlor doors may be used by any citizen. Common posts are about items for barter or sale, need for childcare, ads for upcoming items in the marketplace. It will have notices of upcoming dates and times for Theater shows. Schedules of pending government meetings open to the public. Notices for  classes being offered. There are personal ads as well, posted by women looking for romance in their life.

There are also Gossip Parlors with more adult themes where girls under the age of fifteen are banned. There is no restriction on language or topic of conversations in these parlors. They are often rowdy places. If a patroness is known and trusted, she can get into a back room where less-than-legal activities occur. Gambling is one of the most common vices frowned upon by the governments of Evlantis. Drug use and interactions (but censored to prevent pregnancies) with slaves are highly illegal, and Parlor owners who offer these “back room” services have a full-time job keeping these services secret from law abiding citizens and the Queendom’s soldiers. Less illegal, but frowned upon, some Gossip Parlors provide back room spaces for married women having affairs with other women. Basically, if it is banned in the Queendom, some Gossip Parlor will have back rooms geared toward women’s desire to rebel.