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Alumnae pen new anthem for Rookie magazine

February 19, 2014

  • Marianna Ritchey B.A. ’99 and Katy Davidson B.A. ’99.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities Marianna Ritchey BA ’99 recently collaborated with Katy Davidson BA ’99 to write a theme song for Rookie magazine that captures the publication’s mission of empowering teenage girls. The result is “Go Forth, Feminist Warriors,” a triumphant anthem that includes the talents of more than a dozen musicians.

The starting point for Ritchey and Davidson’s writing process was “We Are the World,” a song written in 1985 for African famine relief that featured several popular performers of the time. Their ultimate goal was to write something catchy and overtly political, with a focus on feminism.

“It was an unspoken given that it should, somewhat by definition, also be funny,” Ritchey explained. While Davidson came up with the beat and chord progression, Ritchey wrote many of the melodies and the Rookie staff contributed suggestions for lyrics.

Davidson and Ritchey have been collaborating musically since their first year at Lewis & Clark, when they were placed together as roommates. The duo’s earliest songs were inspired by topics of discussion in their conversational Spanish class, with Davidson on acoustic guitar and Ritchey on banjo.

Following graduation, Davidson and Ritchey parlayed their hobby into a touring and recording indie pop band called Dear Nora. The group’s earliest formation—which took its name from James W. Rogers Professor of Music Nora Beck—consisted of Davidson as songwriter and lead vocalist, Ritchey on drums, and Ryan Wise B.A. ’99 on bass.

As Ritchey got involved with additional bands, Dear Nora became Davidson’s solo project, though the duo resumed their collaboration in 2007 by establishing the more experimental Lloyd and Michael. They continue to perform live, with a show at Portland’s Mississippi Studios on March 6.

Even with years of experience under her belt, Ritchey does not view this theme song as a major departure from the music she made with Davidson while attending Lewis & Clark.

“Funnily enough, I think that this song is more like the songs we wrote in our dorm room than anything we’ve done in between,” Ritchey said. “It’s musically simple, slightly silly, and reminiscent of our younger selves’ broad-strokes style.”

Katrina Staaf ’16 contributed to this story.

Listen to the anthem Music Department


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