Difficult Women
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Difficult Women

Carlton, Victoria, Australia | INDIE

Carlton, Victoria, Australia | INDIE
Band Folk Spoken Word


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Northern River's Echo"

'DIFFICULT WOMEN' is one of the most brilliant and powerful shows you're likely to see this year!'
- review

"Edinburgh Festival Review"

' . .The show took on a breadth which made it feel like a true, universal celebration of the women involved and the struggles they personified. Magnificent among them all was FRIDA KAHLO! The sufferings of her life - her physical mutilations and spiritual torments - are confronted with such crazy, blazing humour, it is heartbreaking.'



'A performance that left the audience almost BREATHLESS!'

- Review

"Byron Shire Echo"

'By far, the best touring show to make it to the shire interior, having played to packed houses at the inaugural Women's Festival. If you missed this one before, don't make the repeat error. TRULY STIRRING!'
- review

"Leonie Reynolds"

'DIFFICULT WOMEN'S most memorable quality is sheer camaraderie. The two performers throw themselves into their show with conviction and a great deal of warmth. Their songs, monologues and often amusing anecdotes took the chill off the art gallery auditorium's rather sterile atmosphere. LIN VAN HEK'S account of her response to a drunken heckler was particularly engaging: she simply sang him a ferocious a Capella song she had picked up on her travels. We couldn't help but share in her glee - the fierce joy of being a DIFFICULT WOMAN had never been more evident.'



'Lyttleton's Harbour Lights Cafe has a great atmosphere on any occasion but with an act of such freshness, depth and strength it was electric! JOE DOLCE is masterful in his accompaniment on harmonica and guitar. The first subject was KATHERINE MANSFIELD, the unexpurgated original, sexually ambiguous, gutsy and frank. This is a show of great class, inspirational, yet comfortably human. It is a 'must see' for both sexes and all ages.'


'What a stunning, electric, poignant and massively moving production this is! LIN VAN HEK explores and explains the turbulent lives of VIRGINIA WOOLF and CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN with wonderful aplomb. Absorbing, strongly humanist, strongly recommended!

- Fringe First Review


'Black Pepper with A Hint of Violets' - CD
'River of Life ' - CD - LIN VAN HEK (songs of Kath Tait)
'Flower' - CD (songs of Lin Van Hek and Joe Dolce)



DIFFICULT WOMEN has been performing concerts in the Australian and International Art and Folk Festivals since its inception in 1993. Using the acting, narrating and singing skills of LIN VAN HEK and the musical and arranging talents of multi-instrumentalist, JOE DOLCE, DIFFICULT WOMEN brings to life on stage, in concert format, some of our most important and controversial women artists, women who were labelled ‘difficult’ in their day due to their willingness to go against the accepted norm for what it meant to be a woman artist.

DIFFICULT WOMEN has been a pioneering force since the mid-90s, presenting FRIDA KAHLO, SYLVIA PLATH, and VIRGINIA WOOLF to audiences almost a decade before the film producers of Hollywood discovered them. In addition to these now well-known women artists, DIFFICULT WOMEN also brings women to the stage who still remain unknown or marginalized: Australian pioneer feminist LOUSIA LAWSON, the mother of Henry Lawson, who founded the first newspaper totally run by women in the 1890’s THE DAWN, and operated it successfully for 15 years. African-American slave pioneers HARRIET TUBMAN, who organized the Underground Railroad, and SOJOURNER TRUTH, who combined freedom for women with freedom for slaves and was a fierce and innovative orator, even thought she could neither read nor write English. MEMPHIS MINNIE, the first electric guitar player, who defeated Chicagoan, BIG BILL BROOZNEY, in The Great Male Vs Female Guitar Contest. French Sculptor CAMILLE CLAUDEL, Russian diarist SONYA TOLSTOI, New Zealand writer KATHERINE MANSFIELD, and many others. Joe and Lin have forged a beautiful harmony blend from 25 years of singing together and their most recent CD, FLOWER, was selected as Top Ten Release of the Year by Rhythms Magazine.

LIN VAN HEK, as a published SPINIFEX PRESS author, has a long background in women’s writing. Born and raised in Melbourne, she lived for many years in India and Belgium. She was the lead singer of the electro-dance band, SKIN THE WIG, in the 80s, and a song she wrote and recorded was part of the first TERMINATOR film in the US! She recorded a solo CD ‘River of Life,’ featuring songs of New Zealand writer, Kath Tait, and is featured on the GIRLZONE recordings, which were produced solely by women. She has published two novels: The Hanging Girl, and The Ballad of Siddy Church, and has just completed her third, El Libro de Plata and the Difficult Women’s Notebook, and several books of short stories. She has had stories published in recent years in two Spinifex Press anthologies: Cat Tales: The Meaning of Cats in Women’s Lives, and Horse Dreams: The Meaning of Horses in Women’s Lives. She is a previous winner the Melbourne Age Short Story Contest. Lin is also a respected designer, with her own label, LIN VAN HEK DESIGN, working in collaboration with women entrepreneurs, in the mountain villages of North Vietnam, travelling there many times a year.

JOE DOLCE, Musical Director, has been a professional musician, composer and entertainer for over 35 years. Their common love for words and music, and the wonderful ‘difficult’ women that have inspired them both, led them to develop this unique way of combining literature and music, to create something quite special, intimate and entertaining, and an inspiration for any creative person.