Transgender Artist Shawna Virago Is A “Heaven Sent Delinquent”
Music is an incredible medium. It has the power to bring people together and explain stories that we would not usually be able to grasp on our own. Shawna Virago is a transgender songstress celebrated for her striking lyric-based songs. Her music twists together folk, punk, and trans-Americana, offering raw observations about survival in a predatory world, queer love, sticking up for the underdog, and gender rebels. Virago has performed as an out transwoman since the early 1990’s. Her performances are celebrated for their compelling mix of original songs, storytelling, and stand-up. Her music has been profiled in many publications, including Bitch, the Advocate and Curve magazines and on left-of-the-dial radio. Now Shawna is ready to spread her story with her newly released album Heaven Sent Delinquent.
Ten acoustic storytelling songs articulate escape – real or imagined – by a cast of outsiders, queer rebels, and loners. Each song spins an odyssey by these escape artists: from stifling, oppressive, dusty towns; from the crushing weight of a questionable past; from the potential violence transpeople face every day. In today’s society, it is so crucial for all of us to have an understanding of the lives we don’t usually delve into. For me, Shawna’s album has been a timely reminder of how important it is to use music as a way to connect with the rest of humanity.
Virago’s songs are wry and lyrical. The production on the album is sparse, with Virago’s take-no-prisoners voice and her deft folk-punk guitar style. The literal and mythical landscapes of “Heaven Sent Delinquent” are filled with brawling women, dandy provocateurs, and queer rebel misfits.
Virago describes the urgency behind these songs – “These are the stories of my generation – a generation of transgender people who came out long before the internet, before transgender celebrities and reality TV stars … before anybody gave a shit about us.