“Hands up who doesn’t know who Sarah Vaughan is? Oh honey, I would kick you out but you’re a member of the press.”
That is quintessential Mama Alto. Equal parts sassy and fabulous, she describes herself as “resplendent diva”, “cabaret goddess”, “jazz singer goddess” and “creature of sequins.”
However, Mama Alto (aka Benny Dimas) and her performances are more than just the two-dimensional musical performances between singer and audience.
Mama Alto is the culmination of Dimas’ love for the vintage cabaret aesthetic of an era filled with strong female voices such as Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald, to the extrapolation of their own gender identity.
“For some, seeing me on stage working through my identity and gender politics in song can be a positive experience”, says Dimas about Mama Alto.
“The ‘Mama Alto’ identity is shaped by who I actually am, whereas Benny was shaped by the world that they grew up in and was forced to participate in and fit in to survive and get along.”
This self-exploration by Dimas ultimately provides their audience with a more meaningful connection than other performances by their peers, and what has ultimately led to their successes as a cabaret performer.
But Mama Alto, and her musical director “Miss Chief” (Tiffanni Walton) have big dreams for the year ahead, building upon the success of their critically acclaimed national tour.
The duo had a massive 2014, performing seasons at the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Perth Fringe World and ultimately winning 2014 ‘Best Cabaret Fringe Weekly’ Award at the Adelaide Fringe.
All performances will centre on the relationship between performer and audience, whereby both Mama and Miss Chief devote time to interacting and building relationships with their audiences, in order to “learn about their lives and connect with them”, set against the backdrop of the classic cabaret aesthetic.
But one thing’s for certain, Mama’s appearance at her old haunt, The Butterfly Club, won’t be neglected.
Mama Alto and Miss Chief kicked off their busy 2015 season this weekend at The Butterfly Club, with their show “Mama Alto: Countertenor Diva.”
For all details of what lies ahead for Mama Alto and how you can get tickets for her shows, visit http://www.mamaalto.com/
Mama Alto will also be performing at MUST’s ‘Container Festival’ in August.