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Brenda Boykin


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Brenda calls it “Bourbon and Cornbread,” the musical mixture of jazzy sweetness and down-home sass that marks her as “the most authentic and most inventive female jump blues vocal stylist of her generation,” according to blues historian Lee Hildebrand.

Brenda Boykin has earned a sterling reputation in the San Francisco Bay Area as a masterful interpreter of jazz and blues material gleaned from big bands, old blues hands, and honky tonk heroes. Boykin has firmly established herself as an unsurpassed vocal talent whose elixir of bourbon and cornbread - sounds from silk to sandpaper - delight both new listeners and purists who compare her to the giants of the past.

A native of Oakland, California, Boykin’s first musical experience came through the youth choir of the North Oakland Missionary Baptist Church, one of the many houses of the lord where raucous, heart-felt sounds of the faithful still ring out on the wide streets of the East Bay flatlands. The church strains can still be found in her rich, husky contralto, effortless power and controlled vocal passion. After studying the clarinet in high school Boykin entered the University of California at Berkeley - and though studying psychology and social welfare - gravitated toward the jazz bands working on and near campus. Boykin worked Bay Area jazz and blues hot spots that helped her expand her musical horizons.


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