Perpetual Change: Rev. Yolanda, Part 2

| Aug 29, 2016

yolanda_posterAt the beginning of the month, we posted Part 1 of an interview with Rev. Yolanda. She hosted a highly successful concert that was actually a celebration of her 60th birthday on August 6th in New York. Because of the length of the interview, and due to the nature of what she had to say, I felt that no real editing down was require

Before getting into Part 2, I’d like to share some of Yolanda’s thoughts regarding her birthday gig. “It was wonderful,” she said. “I will be releasing a DVD of it as I get everything processed and ready to go. I truly had an amazing experience of understanding that my songs were universal. I had many different guest artists, both straight and LGBTQ. The song were perfect for each performer. I was so pleased to see my work translated by guest artists that I admire. ”

So, along with everything else the Good Reverend has going on, while we’re waiting for the Country Kirtan Vol. 2, we can now also look forward to seeing the actual party. Looks like retirement isn’t even a concept for Yolanda, no matter how old she gets.

With that happy thought in mind, for your dining and dancing pleasure, here is Part 2 of TGForum’s latest interview with Rev. Yolanda.

TGForum: How far along are you towards the release of Volume 2 of the Country Kirtan project? And, how has the We Are Angels EP been received?

Rev. Yolanda: Kirtan Vol. 2 is still in production. Freddy Freeman and I are planning to finish the CD…with a release date for October or November. We keep reworking songs and finding new ways to say what I want to say. I have recorded an amazing cover of Jesus Is Just Alright. I call it Interfaith Is Alright. I include phrases like “Jesus is quite alright with me. Buddha is quite alright o yeah. Muhammad is is quite alright with me. Abraham is alright. I don’t care what path you take, every path leads to the same place. We’re all children of God’s grace and all of it is alright. Oh yeah.” I also include Goddesses in this version of the song so I’m putting my Interfaith viewpoint out there for all so see. This particular track was produced and arranged by my dear friend/musician/producer/singer/songwriter and fellow transperson Kristin “Feathers” Taylor.

Angels Only, the EP with 5 different versions of We Are Angels, has been very well received. You can hear it on my website. I have heard from folks that they didn’t know the song was almost 20 years old and that there were so many different versions. I’d love to create a campaign to get folks to record it or video themselves singing it and send it to me. If they do, I’ll certainly post them on my website and YouTube Channel and send them a back catalogue package.

Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda

TGF: I see that you’ve written music for the theatrical production of Welcome To The Doll’s Den. Will you be performing with the show? Any plans to record this music separately or have the show video taped?

Rev. Y: Welcome To The Doll’s Den is such an amazing project. It’s a devised theater project which means that the cast and the staff create the script together from the historical story. In this instance, the story is about WHER, the first all female radio station in America that was founded by Sam Phillips (who discovered Elvis) and located in Memphis, Tennessee. We’re focusing on the year 1968 during the sanitation workers strike that lead to the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During this creative process, we are working with music, obviously. I created a country riff on my guitar that became the opening song. We haven’t finished the entire show and there will be more music to come. I’m not totally sure how we are going to record the show…but I do know that we will. This show is going to take a while to come to it’s complete fruition, but we had a partial showing of the work that we’ve completed so far on June 14 at Dixon Place in NYC.

TGF: Plan to keep doing the Church With A Two Drink Minimum monthly gig? What about Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Show?

Rev. Y: We love doing Church With A Two Drink Minimum. We will resume Church on September 18 at Sidewalk Café in the East Village. People really like it and we have a great team. It really is a church service and a fun brunch afternoon that’s designed to bring everyone together regardless of sex, gender, race, spiritual path.

Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour is now a touring show/service that I take to churches across the country. I have done the show in traditional Christian denominational churches like Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc., as well as the non-traditional churches like Unitarian and Unity. I’ve also performed it in Synagogues, and Friday night Shabbat services. I love to come to churches across America and later this year I’ll be doing another southern tour of that show. If any readers are in Alabama or Tennessee or Georgia and would like me to come to their church in September or October, please email me at Yolanda@yolanda.net.

TGF: Other than the next CD and the Doll’s Den show, any other projects coming up you can talk about right now?

Rev. Y: This past year an agent from 90210 Talent Agency signed me for representation in TV and film. I have been auditioning non-stop for all kinds of projects. I have been in some small roles in independent films this past year, as well as a role in Season One of a series called Skeleton Crew which you can see on YouTube (Skeleton Crew Episode 9: Working To The Bone) We have started filming season 2 of Skeleton Crew and this season, my character Glenn Reade (a cross dresser whose children put him in a nursing home) is a lead character. Currently I am putting my acting real together and will be hitting the audition circuit for TV. I just auditioned for NBC…keep your fingers crossed.

TGF: In closing, congratulations again on making it this far. You’ll love your 60’s. (Insert sarcastic smirking sound here…) Anything else you care to say?

Rev. Y: I am grateful to still be here and doing this and hopefully being relevant in the world. BIG HUGS!

Please check out Rev. Yolanda’s website, as well as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. Myspace and Jungo.

ALSO THIS MONTH

Actually, this an “also this coming next month” — Cyndi Lauper will begin a 16 city U. S. tour on September 10 at Austin’s ACL live, in support of her new country inspired CD, Detour. Learn more on her website, also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

NEW MUSIC

Honey (EP) by Kaye

Kaye is Charlene Kaye, who was born in Hawaii, but has lived all over the globe. She has extensive touring experience as a member of an all-female Guns-N-Roses tribute band, and as the front woman vocalist for San Fermin. It was while on tour that she started composing her own music, sharing demos with producer Elliot Jacobson. The result is her debut EP, Honey.

While the EP is only 5 songs, it’s a pretty clear indication of where Kaye’s music sensibilities lie. The entire project has a real rock, almost in-your-face feel to it, with a slight techno edge. It’s also very evident that Kaye has had extensive previous experience as a band member and a lead vocalist. She has the kind of voice that is perfect for rock.

The outstanding tracks are the title cut Honey, a great rocker with excellent guitar work. It’s Kaye’s best vocal performance on the project. The other outstanding track is U U U. This is a mix of straight up rock and techno and has the overall best production moment on the EP.

Kaye is definitely an up and coming artist in her own right who is worth paying attention to.

For more information visit her website. You can also find Kaye on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and SoundCloud.

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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About Pam Degroff: Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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