Shawna Virago

Shawna Virago

Shawna Virago

Work in Exhibition:
Video 3:36 min color

Renowned folk-punk songwriter Shawna Virago dropped her latest album, Heaven Sent Delinquent, this past January via Tranimal Records and it’s filled with her trademark no-frills compositions.

Virago’s storytelling songs are steeped in the need for escape from the restrictive rules and ignorant views of society in general.  Being transgender, Virago is on the frontlines of a continuing battle for LGBT rights and acceptance.

“Gender Armageddon” is a signature spare but riveting number that features acoustic guitar strum and a heartfelt Virago regretfully intoning about a friend in need of protection.  Virago recounts, “You said you were too afraid to lie in your bed / You had too many cruel strangers sleeping in your head.”

The video for “Gender Armageddon” is equally direct and engaging, with Virago appearing on a stage backed with drawn-open velvet curtains and tall Tiffany lamps.

The San Francisco-based Virago is an artistic trailblazer who is not only a singer and musician but also a published writer and music composer.  She’s been featured in the Advocate, Bitch, and Curve magazines and in documentaries on PBS and NPR. Her music video for “Transsexual Dominatrix” has played at more than 30 film fests in North America and Europe and it was awarded Best Music Video at New York’s CineKink Festival.  Virago is also the artistic director of the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival.

Shawna Virago

Shawna Virago is a transgender music pioneer 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.

Virago’s live performances are celebrated for their compelling mix of original songs, storytelling and standup. Her music has been profiled in many publications, including No Depression, the Huffington Post, Paste Magazine, Louder Than War, The Big Takeover, Bitch, The Advocate and Curve magazines and on left-of-the-dial radio.

Shewired named Virago as one of the nation’s “Top 25 Hot Femmes.” The Advocate named Virago’s song ‘Objectified’ as one of the nation’s top transgender anthems. Virago is the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival.

Virago’s music video Transsexual Dominatrix has screened at more than 30 film festivals throughout North America and Europe, and was awarded Best Music Video at New York’s CineKink Festival.

Virago is a published writer and her work appears in Gender Outlaws: Next Generation and in the anthologies Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary and Take Me There. Virago has been featured in documentary works on PBS and NPR. Virago composed original music for choreographer Sean Dorsey’s acclaimed dance theater work Uncovered: The Diary Project, about pioneering transman Lou Sullivan.