The Shaggs, “The Girls Who Invented Music”

Here’s a short, fascinating documentary from the BBC on the Shaggs. If you don’t know the Shaggs, they were a home-schooled girl group from Fremont, New Hampshire that played music like you’ve never, ever heard before — they make Captain Beefheart sound like Tony Bennett. I won’t go into the whole story because it’s all in the documentary, but the most haunting aspect of this portrait is how, more than forty years after the fact, Dot and Betty Wiggins remain deeply scarred by the entire experience — being forced by their crazy father to learn to play instruments and to write and perform original music when they so clearly had no proclivities to do so. And how the music that emerged was so utterly original, so profoundly unsettling, so otherworldly.

Jon Ronson talks with The Shaggs.

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