The girls conjure up images of the Spice Girls and other female pop singers like Britney Spears with their colorful wigs and dance tunes.
Then there are some ways that the experiences of the five members of the group seem very particular to Burma."We are the first band who can use colorful wigs," says Htike Htike, one of the Me N Ma Girls.Burma's censorship board, which has to approve all the lyrics, music, videos, and artwork for any album produced in the country, gave them the go-ahead to use colorful wigs in a video. Htike Htike says it may not seem like a big deal in the US, but the group was pretty psyched."When we heard that news we shout and chant," she laughs.She got it into her head to form a girl band along the lines of the Spice Girls and, two years ago, put out an ad for auditions.
"It was so amazing to me that girls even turned up," May says."You know: 'Hey, I'm an Australian singer and dancer, I want to start a girl band , who's interested? " Even in a crowd of that size, May says the five people she chose for the group stood out."They wanted to communicate, and wanted to engage–and wanted to give it 100 percent.It was a pretty progressive move for the board, which had until recently blocked bands from wearing colored wigs or dying their hair, calling such things quote "against Burmese culture." The censors have been loosening their grip recently–there's even talk of abolishing the board.Heather Mac Lachlan, a professor at the University of Dayton in Ohio and author of a book about pop music in Burma, says the conservatism doesn't just reflect the views of stodgy apparatchiks."It's not just the censors, I mean, those are Burmese values.