THE WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE SONG
by Sharleen Leahey
In 1998 Sharleen visited Seneca Falls, NY's Woman's Historical Park to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the first Woman's Rights Convention held in July 1848. That visit led to Sharleen writing "The Woman Suffrage Song." In early 2017 she was invited to join Hudson Valley singer-songwriters Pat Lamanna and Lydia Adams Davis. Calling themselves The Herstorians, the trio have been performing a 1-1/2 hour show to celebrate the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in NY State for libraries, historical societies and conferences. On March 11, 2018 the trio performed their debut concert at the Peoples Voice Café in New Yok City. The following day they made their New Jersey debut at a concert in Teaneck, NJ sponsored by the NJ National Organization for Women.
Before performing her signature song chronicling the 72 year struggle from 1848 to 1920, Sharleen declared to the gathering of over 75 women:
"What an honor to perform in my adopted state of New Jersey, home to our great Suffragist leader Alice Paul!"*
Sharleen is in the studio working on her new CD. Stay Tuned!
Herstorians Make NJ Debut –
Courier News - Central New Jersey – March 9, 2018
*Alice Paul led the women's' struggle for Suffrage from 1913 to victory
with the passage of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920,
granting all American women of voting age the right to vote in all the states of the union.
In addition, Alice Paul wrote the Equal Rights Amendmet to the Constituion which has yet to be ratified.
"Those who attended your concert expressed such positive feedback . . .
and are even asking for more!"
Katherine Schaible,, LSW| Program Coordinator
Cancer Support Community
Central New Jersey
Sharleen picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and through a joyful struggle taught herself to play and sing the music she adored. Through the chords and lyrics of great songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Lennon & McCartney and her mentor Pete Seeger, she found her voice.
In the late 1970s Sharleen moved to Central Florida where she performed in the coffeehouses of Winter Park and wrote her first song “Fires of August,” a warning about the escalating dangers of nuclear technology. That first songwriting experience was a powerful incentive which inspired her to write and perform dozens of original songs on political and ecological issues. Often compared to her mentor, folk icon Joan Baez, Sharleen eventually discovered within herself a commitment to peace which to this day remains at the core of her musical expression.
In 1989 she met and befriended Sis Cunningham, the publisher of Broadside* magazine who had been a bandmate of Woody Guthrie in the 1930s group The Almanac Singers. In 1993 with guidance from Sis and Pete Seeger, Sharleen founded Songs for Peace magazine and turned her focus from songwriting to searching out and transcribing the songs of other topical artists. Over the next six years, with the help of dedicated volunteers, she published over one hundred songs on peace, ecology and human rights by artists who included Tommy Sands, Julie Gold, Ruth Pelham, Matt Jones and Pete Seeger. After six years of publishing she returned to songwriting, releasing “So Frail," her 2004 debut CD.
Inspired by the healing power of music in her own life, Sharleen believes we are all profoundly affected by music in ways that are apparent yet often mysterious.
with myself and with others . . . through the magic of song
is a sacred gift. I’ve never been able to find anything else quite like it.”
Sharleen has recently released "Rumors of Peace," her second collection of original songs. The new CD includes 7 original songs and her first cover, "Jerusalem," written by legendary songwriter Steve Earle.