The centerpiece of the evening is the debut of THE SINGING BOIS' A Queerstory of the Boy Band, a romp through histories of masculinity in U.S. popular music. Combining choreography, drag aesthetics, and unique vocal arrangements, this musical revue pushes the boundaries of masculinity and reveals how female-bodied people shape its construction.
Matching smooth vocals with sharp political commentary, the VAJAYNA MEN'S CHOIR brings much-needed humor to disrupt typical FTM narratives through original parodies of showtunes and pop songs. Trans artist FELIX LEE opens the show with acoustic-electro fusion, using loop pedals, laptop, and electric guitar to weave soundscapes and create cinematic auditory journeys to entrance the soul.
THE SINGING BOIS is a queer pop quartet based in Oakland. Part boy band, part Rat Pack, they create spaces for masculine-of-center and POC musicians within new and classic styles such as R&B, soul, rock, jazz, and Latin genres. Twisting gender expectations, they blend musical precision, playful staging, and sexy swagger. Known for their unique interpretations of songs by everyone from Sam Cooke to Selena, The Singing Bois make audible a range of masculinities and tell queer, butch, and trans stories through song. They have performed at a variety of Bay Area venues including El Rio, SOMArts, Studio Grand, Galería de la Raza, MAPP, UC Santa Cruz, The Women's Building, and the 2015 Fresh Meat Festival. www.thesingingbois.com.
VAJAYNA MEN'S CHOIR is an all-transmasculine singing group dedicated to celebrating and making fun of trans guy experiences, stories, and life choices. Led by artistic director Anand Jay Kalra, the group focuses on empowering trans men to use the full range of their voices, both musically and politically. The ensemble grew out of a series of workshops in which transmasculine singers learned the basics of vocal production in a supportive, community setting. Singers include Kalra (tenor), Jasper Mather (tenor) and Baz Wenger (baritone). Man2man is the Vajayna Men's Choir's debut concert.
Based out of Oakland, FELIX LEE is a trans musician and artist who originally hails from the East Coast and Midwest. As a lifelong student of music he is predominately self-taught and aspires to become a multi-instrumentalist. In 2007, he moved to the Bay Area to study music theory and composition at Mills College. Last year he became a certified practitioner of Sound Healing through the California Institute of Integral Studies. He’s passionate about creating music imbued with the power to heal the mind, body, and spirit. Using only loop pedals, laptop, and electric guitar, Felix weaves enveloping soundscapes and creates cinematic auditory journeys to entrance the soul. Listen at www.soundcloud.com/felix-lee-4 or reverbnation.com/felixlee.
ANAND JAY KALRA (Producer) has loved musical theater since before he could talk. He wrote and performed a solo show about critical moments in his transition to adulthood and transmasculine identity in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2009 and was an invited performer at Transgender Day of Remembrance services in Southeast Michigan from 2008-2010 (spoken word and singing). Anand performed original songs and parodies at queer cabarets and revues in Michigan from 2009-2010 and dabbled in stand-up comedy in 2011 and 2012. He has sung tenor with the West Coast Singers and Ann Arbor Civic Chorus and sits in regularly with the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band on trombone (concert) and snare drum (marching). Outside of creative pursuits, Anand maintains a disciplined practice of project management as a trained librarian and public policy analyst.
TC ROBERTS (Producer) is an artist and scholar based in Oakland. As a composer and sound designer, they have worked with theater and dance companies across the country, including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and About Face Theatre. As a musician, T performs regularly as a drummer, singer, and bandleader with groups including The Singing Bois and Las Bomberas de la Bahía. T is on the faculty at University of California, Berkeley, where they teach courses on music and politics. www.tamararobertsmusic.com.
VANESSA SANCHEZ (Choreographer) is a Bay-Area based dancer, educator and choreographer with extensive classical and folkloric training, ranging from Tap dance to Afro-Caribbean folklore. Sanchez has studied and performed throughout the United States and Mexico creating culturally rooted work that explores the relationship between rhythm and movement. Her project,“La Mezcla,” established in 2013, is a multi-disciplinary dance and music collaboration that focuses on rhythmic fusions expressing cultural traditions while exploring new forms and social awareness.