Meet the first all-female Indian music group Ladybirds of the 70s

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We all loved listening to Backstreet Boys, Bombay Vikings and Euphoria, but it’s also refreshing to have girl groups like Viva and Ladybirds. While boy bands have dominated the music industry most of the time in history, there have also been girl bands that have made a name for themselves.

Few people are aware of the fact that Ladybirds were the first all-female Indian music group in place of Viva. The band rose to fame in India in the 1970s. It was started by Farida Vakila during her school days at St Joseph’s Convent in Bandra. Ladybugs consisted of four members, namely Farida Vakil, Merlyn, Zarina, and Jenny.

The band was managed by Vakil’s father as he found gigs and contracts for the band. Farida Vakil was the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist, Merlyn was a drummer while Zarina was the rhythm guy and Jenny played bass.

“One day, during the lunch break, we tried [singing] harmonies and we found that we got along wonderfully. So the girl who played the drums bought herself a drum kit. She became a drummer. Her name was Merlyn. Then there was Jenny, who played bass. I played the main role. And there was Zarina, another one of our classmates, who was playing rhythm. And we became the ladybugs,” Vakil told Vogue in his maintenance.

Vakil said in one of her interviews that she was exposed to international music at a young age by her older sister, which developed her interest in music. Her older sister worked in an airline and often used to get music records on the way home for her. “My sister worked in the airlines. she brought back a lot of records, jazz, Latin American, Spanish, tango, flamenco,” she added.


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The Ladybugs eventually broke up for various reasons, after which Vakil joined The Riots Squad, a beat music group and remained with it until 1973. The group was also featured in a docuseries. Upright which covered the history of international music in India.

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