By Tabitha Keys
LAKA pronounced “Lay-ka,” is a St. Louis singer-songwriter who prides herself in performing a multitude of genres. She recently released her third single, a country-folk song titled ‘Keep it to Myself,’ written by Mike Lipel. LAKA debuted her first cabaret show at the Blue Strawberry in October of 2020, titled ‘The Music in Me.’ LAKA has performed in New York City, Las Vegas, Florida, and Tennessee.
I had the pleasure of seeing this “riveting performance” on stage at Zack Theatre (3224 Locust St. St. Louis, MO) “St. Louis Woman by Joe Hanrahan,” with her band: Corey Patterson is the Music Director and keyboard player. Corey is the Music Director at his church, has taught music as a high school teacher, and produces the recording of Gospel Music. Corey has played with Smokey Robinson, Patti LaBelle, and Vivian Green. Gabe Bonfili is the percussionist.
,Gabe is a self-taught musician who has a thirst to explore all world-wide musical genres. He has been part of the bands: The Wackness and Big Brother Thunder, and currently The Aztechs. Gabe is also a painter, and his work has been exhibited in St. Louis and beyond. Corey and Gabe regularly back up LAKA for her appearances.
LAKA graced us with her presence. On stage, this St. Louis woman portrays all black phenomenal women, including herself, who were born in St. Louis/East St. Louis or have lived there at one time during their lives. This intriguing night out was a lesson on Black History, during the month of October.
Josephine Baker is known for her famed show Danse Sauvage as she danced across the stage in her banana skirt in Europe, afterwards she received 4,000 love letters and 2,000 marriage proposals. She is also known for her activism and for adopting children from different countries.
Willie Mae Ford Smith was an American musician. Fontella Bass was an American R&B singer and songwriter best known for her number one R&B hit ‘Rescue Me’ in 1965. Katherine Dunham was an American dancer, choreographer, creator of the Dunham Technique, author, educator, anthropologist, social activist, etc.
Tina Turner is an American-born singer, songwriter, and actor. Maya Angelou is best known for her autobiography series, which focuses on her early childhood and adult experiences. The first, ‘I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing,’ tells her life story up to the age 17. Ann Peebles is an American singer and songwriter, one of her most popular songs is ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ in 1973.
Josephine Baker, Willie Mae Ford Smith, Fontella Bass, Katherine Dunham, Tina Turner, and Maya Angelou all have their own star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Ann Peebles is also portrayed by LAKA, but she does not have her on star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
This evening with LAKA and her band members Corey and Gabe, was a night to remember. I enjoyed this live performance filled with the sounds of drums, keyboard, singing, dancing, storytelling, and the many costumes changes. Thanks, to Joseph Magsaysay and everyone who played a part in making this show St. Louis Woman, possible.