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La Tanya Marie Carmical, Vocalist, Dancer & Percussionist 

La Tanya was born in Oakland, California, USA with roots in Louisiana. First ensemble music experience came at age 20 when her sister (a US Army soldier stationed in Oakland) recruited her to sing lead vocals in her husband’s Soul/Funk inspired dance band.  Although a seasoned traveler, La Tanya considers herself a Bay Area homegrown working musician and continues to work at local venues regularly. 

For the 5 years she was blessed to perform original live music with Groovality Band featuring Simon Russell (vocal/kybds), Billy Johnson (drums), and Rob Watson (bass) and have a 20+ year partnership with popular local Motown inspired and choreographed group, The Fundamentals. 

As an experienced freelance vocal and dance artist, La Tanya is versatile with the ability to strongly adapt well to any style of music on levels both lead and background.  As a percussionist, she’s developed her playing style studying Rolando Soto.  She belongs to Women’s Drummers International and received training from legendary drummers/performers Annette Argentina Aguilar, Edwina Tyler, Linda Tillery and Mabiba Gagne. La Tanya has performed Gospel, Rock, Funk, Punk, Soul, R&B and Classical styles of music as well as various ethnic styles (with an ability to quickly learn and perform phonetically in several other languages including French and Spanish).   La Tanya has recorded with Juan Escovedo, and her discography credits include background vocals on Under the Moon, by Annie Sampson (Stone Ground), Mic Gillette (Tower of Power) and soon to be released Brazillian flavored recording by John Hart, entitled Changing Seasons

La Tanya has been blessed to grace the stage with performers Mark Russo (Kenny Loggins/Doobie Brothers), Steph Burns (Prince/Sheila E.), ConFunkShun and Jennifer Holiday and opening at local venues for such artists as Pete Escovedo and Greg Kihn.  

"Music can express all that we feel. Words or no words, it can be used to set a tone and there is no need to understand how it was made or from whom it came. If you like it, enjoy it."   La Tanya

My first and deepest impression of vocal music is of "Mommo," (pronounced MAH-MOE) my maternal grandmother singing and encouraging her then youngest of nine grandchildren to sing. "Do Lord, Oh Do Lord, Do Remember Me, that's right," she cooed, "sing baby," over and over until both she and the child fell asleep in a four legged, straight backed, kitchen chair. She is always and will ever be present when I sing.
My influences are: My son, Travis Grayson, my Mother, Mrs. Margaret Wright, whose love of dance and music spilled like her love, naturally onto her children; my Grandparents; The Rev. Millard "Daddy" & Mrs. Irma (Mommo) Washington, who helped anyone in need, regardless of race; my God-Parents Myrtle and Leo Edgerly, local Divas of Dance Ruth Beckford, Gwen Lewis, Genise Brown, and Elyse DukatzFather John Maxwell, at St. Andrew's-St. Joseph's Catholic Church where I learned to sing in Latin, French and Spanish, and last but not least Mrs. Barlow, one of the World's Greatest music teachers among Oakland Public School's finest music teachers, who took us outside the "Hood" to display our talents.
I was lucky enough to grow up during a time when art, in all its forms, was sponsored and supported in the home, neighborhood, schools and by theCity Parks & Recreation Department. Groups of children and adults came together several times during the year to perform with one another, and to dispel myths about one another's cultures, by sharing music and choreography on the stages of Oakland Schools and at the Oakland Auditorium (Now the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center). The City of Oakland sponsored citywide Dance Symposiums where students from all over the Bay Area met to perform a common dance under a common roof. It was surreal but fantastic to see hundreds of children and adults costumed and doing the Virginia Reel.  I grew up knowing, viewing and loving Ronald Dellums (additional info) as a father figure, who so closely knit into the Oakland community, was a judge at our Doll show at Poplar Park (additional photos), for an at-the-time matriarchal dominated block of predominantly single mothers and their impressionable youngsters (of which I was one).  His cultured and handsome presence in the community left a lasting impression especially on Magnolia Street and the surrounding communities in West Oakland.
As a preteen, I began to really listen to myself sing at home in front of our stereo. I wanted only to sing like Ronnie Isley of the Isley Brothers. I sang with ALL the Motown ArtistsSoul TrainKDIA-Lucky 13RufusFeaturing Chaka Khan ((Listen)), SantanaThe EmotionsMother's Finestand Carol King on that stereo.
By age 18, I'd spent 13 years studying dance, six years of gymnastics, performed and organized neighborhood shows and was determined to become a comic book artist. Art is my first love and my mother keeps a photo from the Oakland Tribune when I was blessed with a summer scholarship to California College of Arts & Crafts while in the sixth grade. She displays framed artwork I've painted in her home from various stages of my life.  I attended Montera Jr High school (Now Montera Middle School) with talented artists like Sheila Escovedo and afterwards  Skyline High School with Tom Hanks (he and I were born on the same day, the same year July 9, 1956)
For 13 years, it was my pleasure to be involved in a business/artistic partnership with a very talented group of Bay Area Musicians better known as "The Fundamentals." I have always considered myself to be a Bay Area WORKING Musician. I've choreographed movement for The Fundamentalsand others, branching off to do commercials and plays with other Bay Area Artists.  I have my own band (BanDuJour), but "Have Vocals Will Travel" I always say.  I love the spontaneity of freelancing vocally with different big bands, meeting new people and hearing music reinterpreted by them.  I currently perform at several local venues and enjoy creating websites for small businesses (like myself) and training their owners on the benefits and importance of maintaining a web presence and the importance of e-commerce.
I am a huge fan, inspired and excited about meeting people I admire in the music and entertainment field. One favorite benefit of being recognized by other musicians is the yearly pass to the NAMM Show (also see National Association of Music Merchants) in Los Angeles, which is open only to trades people. In January, the most phenomenal music makers and makers of musical instruments come together from all over the world to buy, sell and trade products at the Anaheim Convention Center, 2 blocks fromDisneyland, three levels, and the size of three football fields. I walked side by side with George Benson one year, discussed mouthpieces with Branford Marsalis, and attended seminars with musicians who make Michael Jackson's music come to life on stage (and in the studio). I met Lee Oskarfrom the group "War" selling his brand named harmonica, and just because I'm there, I'm acknowledged. I star gaze, check out booths, play choice brand instruments of famous people who are there to endorse their chosen products, and attend as many shows as I can for musical inspiration.
I love performing. Music has been to me: like a husband that I will never divorce; a best friend; comfort in times of loss; a means to give my self-expression; and a financial net in hard times.
Over breakfast, six women I respect and call sister(s) found us in the midst of a "SHOOP, SHOOP" moment. We began to let loose impressions we have made upon one another over the years and here is what they said about me: "You are comedic, lively, open, together, generous, and metaphorically speaking, like sand. Do they know me or WHAT?"
Life's most emotional experiences become understood when I listen to my favorite singers and I can relate. My hope is that I will inspire someone the way I have been inspired.

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