Finally had the chance to go out and see a show for the first time since the start of the pandemic and catch my good friend Genesis Fermin’s performance on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, a cool acoustic show in a backyard in Oakland, CA, and what a pleasure of a show it was and I’m so glad I made it.
With the current state of the Covid pandemic, artists are finding new channels to perform, from online zoom performances to backyard folk-style mini-concerts. The Garden House show was a presentation of Strega Sounds, featuring Doctora Xingona as the headliner, Genesis Fermin, and Power Snatch as an opener. The show was by invitation only, upon receiving it you email the host your reservation and you receive a welcome reply with the address and basic information.
Nested in the heart of Oakland, I entered into a cool backyard with a gorgeous scene of adjacent houses and about 20-25 people in the audience seated facing a small stage, one single speaker of a sound system, a guitar amp, and two vocal microphones. I have always taught my classes that simple is good and less is more. The vibe was excellent as everyone was in their happy zone.
The show started with the host welcoming the audience and the artists and congratulating everyone on their efforts to attend a show during the pandemic although the mandated mask requirements have been dropped, we were advised to wear a mask if necessary and maintain social distance if inside the house. Then Power Snatch started their set with an amazing song that got the audience’s participation and everyone was singing. Genesis’s first song was Evergreen, one of my favorite songs. Genesis is an excellent guitar player with amazing strong vocals and the perfect stage presence. I do need to remind our readers that this happened after a long pause of No Shows due to the pandemic, the crowd was eager and so was Genesis, the interaction with the audience is what makes Genesis a great singer-songwriter, and a talented musician. Genesis gave the audience a show to remember and what a treat it was, a perfect time listening to such an amazing and creative singer-songwriter.
Doctora Xingona’s ancestors bloom in her/their voice. Their songs roar an otherworldly fire against oppression, exalt queer love and liberation, and create a gripping atmosphere for healing. An expansive multimedia artist and educator, Doctora Xingona’s music, poetry, performances, films, and gatherings center transcendence, kinship, and the co-liberation and nourishment of queer, trans, and gender expansive artists of color. Doctora Xingona is the creator/composer behind Quiero Volver: A Xicanx Ritual Opera, a multimedia living performance altar for queer and trans artists of color to convene and manifest futures. Quiero Volver was awarded the Public Art for Spatial Justice Award from the New England Foundation for the Arts in 2020 and is supported by Massachusetts Local Cultural Council Grants in 2022. Funds raised by Quiero Volver performances support the BridgeSong Fund, an emergency relief program for women, nonbinary, and trans musicians of color founded by Doctora Xingona in collaboration with the Institute for the Musical Arts (Goshen, MA). Doctora Xingona released their debut album, Ser Artista, produced by Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist Seth Glier, in December 2021. www.diana-alvarez.com / @brujajuana