The Tuts are an all-female British “three-tone” DIY working-class pop punk/power pop band with hard-driving instruments, highly melodic vocals, and lyrics that touch on subjects ranging from personal relationship issues to struggles against sexism to disgust with right wingers and Tories (a topic that will always be close to my heart). But more often than not, their songs are also very fun and amusing.
The members of the band come from three different backgrounds (hence the “three-tone” quality that they have talked about): The drummer is a black woman with roots in the Caribbean, the bass player is, as she describes it, “boring white British,” and the lead singer and guitarist (and general leader of the band) has one parent from Pakistan and the other from India. They may occasionally make an obvious effort to call attention to those differences, but, on the other hand, it’s true that it is still unusual to see a small rock band (a trio in this case) that is fully ethnically diverse.
The Pakistani/Indian singer, Nadia Javed, probably draws attention to her ethnicity most often, but that’s fine with me, because I am such a big Indophile. And Nadia appeals to my Indophilia a lot when she uses her cultural background in her stage act and her costumes. For instance, there was the time that she sang her pop punk songs while wearing a maang tikka headpiece that made me think of my favorite actresses and singing stars from old Bollywood movies… And if you don’t know how much I like that sort of thing, please see my other blog!
There is, admittedly, nothing that I can find here that draws upon traditional Indian music (or Bollywood music), but on the other hand, the Tuts play a kind of music that has deep roots for me, in my own life and the culture that I came of age with. And Nadia reminded me of this fact, herself, in a video about their tour with The Selecter, when she said: “We were playing to crowds of middle-aged men, who got this, like, nostalgic rush when they’d see us live because it would take them back in time to when they were teenagers.” Yes, I guess she was describing me! (Although, so far, I’ve seen them only on YouTube and probably won’t be able to see them live until they hop on a plane to New York.) But that is only one of a number of reasons why I love the Tuts.
And now here are a few of my favorite clips and videos: