We don’t get to review or even expound all that often on musicians here…beyond maybe on what they might be wearing (see the last blog). Certainly ladies like Nicki Minaj or Beyoncé give us plenty to look at and maybe mention, especially when they wear something totally alternative. A little latex splash, some leather boots, maybe some naughty costume play, we are off and running with descriptions and what it means when music mixes with this kind of style. But then there is the case of transgender music pioneer and cult solo acoustic artist Shawna Virago and what she brings to fashion, music and culture in general.
Shawna is a transgender trickster weaving intricate magic with her stark lyrics and raw punk acoustic playing. Twisting together folk, punk and transAamericana, Shawna has been performing as an out transwoman since the early 90’s. Mixing her highly personal tunes with standup she has been named one of the nation’s “Top 25 Hot Femmes,” while the Advocate said her song “Objectified” was one of the nation’s top transgender anthems. The new tunes on Heaven Sent Delinquent, the muted-strummed tragic tale of “Gender Armageddon,” mid-tempo fun stuff like “Pleasure Car” or country story-song “The Ballad Of Miss Suzy Texas,” are just a few of the choices on her rich new release.
Virago’s music video “Transsexual Dominatrix” has screened at over 30 film festivals throughout North America and Europe, and was awarded Best Music Video at New York’s CineKink Festival.
Shawna Virago is also a writer (beyond songs) of some note. Her written work has appeared in “Gender Outlaws: Next Generation” and in the anthologies “Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary” and “Take Me There.” She has also been featured in documentaries on PBS and NPR.
Shawna Virago’s new album Heaven Sent Delinquent is available here: https://soundcloud.com/shawnavirago/sets/heaven-sent-delinquent-full. And you can catch the video for Shawna’s “Gender Armageddon” here: https://youtu.be/8kz0vo0exmY