Nora Petran’s debut collection of folk vignettes captivated us so much that we had no choice but to name it as one of our favourite records of 2019. Today we premiere the video to its title track ‘What it Takes to be a Man’. The track is representative of the album as a whole, the landscape dominated by tender, ruminative guitar and Petran’s yodel-like vocal which references Emiliana Torrini. Petran’s work is stark, it entrances you in its smallness.
Though the track does note the toxic aspects of masculinity that lead to high suicide rates among males, “Even when you feel like falling / you must stand son”, it’s mostly an outcry at men’s position of privilege, “I grew up with thoughts / Because no-one ever told me to turn them off” she sings, inhabiting the voice of a male. And in the video, she appears to try on the different guises of male and female, it switches to show Nora in archetypal male clothing – desert boots, baseball cap and an overshirt – and archetypal female clothing – a floaty, flower-patterned skirt and pink high heels. She trudges through the sands, happily embracing the fall whenever her desert boots or high heels give way.