By Journalist Ms. Jones
PEEKSKILL – “Sing Kat!” “Sing Lady Kat!” That’s what was yelled throughout Kathleen Yolanda Hopkins-Lecointe’s performance on Saturday, December 30th at the Bean Runner Café. Her actual stage name is “Lady Kat Sings.” And sing, she does… so well! Her deep, smooth tones rocked the crowd as she took people back with tunes like Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing” and “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday.
“I sing cover songs, but I always want to do my own little thing to kind of identify me, because my voice is deep. I try to do a little bit of an extra spin on it…I’ve written a couple of songs. They’re not out there yet,” said Lady Kat Sings who plans to release her original music in 2025. “I want to get it right. I don’t want to just put anything out there.”
Lady Kat Sings retired from The NYC Department of Sanitation as a supervisor and has been moving full steam ahead in the music world booking gigs internationally. She sang with a trio composed of Ben Basile on bass, Eric Puente on drums, and Darius Beckford on piano. This is not her regular band, as she is from the Bronx, but she sent them her sheet music and they improvised the rest.
“She hit me up… She said she had a gig down here and was looking for musicians… and I got my friends in here,” said Basile who plays at Mahoney’s in Poughkeepsie every Tuesday night for their Jazz Jam Session. “That’s how I met Lady Kat Sings…. That’s been about three or four years ago.”
Basile lives in Rosendale. Beckford lives in Pinebush. Puente lives right around the corner from The Bean Runner Café who loves to feature international and local artists.
“We bring lots of music here… Some of the best jazz musicians in the world play here… [The list includes] Winard Harper [and] Richie Goods who toured with Chris Bowden for years. Now he’s on his own… They’re having their album release party here… Richie Goods, Jerome Jennings on drums, and Chien Chien. She’s a phenomenal Chinese vibraphonist. She just won The Asian Grammys! We have also had Lakecia Benjamin play here. We do Salsa on the first Friday of every month… The second Friday is Reggae,” said Ted Bitter who owns the café with his wife Drew Claxton. “There are some very important musicians living in Peekskill. [The list includes] Alex Smith, who is the keyboard player and musical director for Lady Gaga… Bob Baldwin, Grammy Winner, was here about a month ago.”
Bitter and Claxton bought the building which was abandoned. She wanted to restore the historic building. He wanted to make a café. They did both with the goal of having a community spot where people can come and hear live music.
“I love the place. I love the ambiance. I love the people. Ted and Drew are phenomenal people. I just got up, went over there about October, and I came to see a performance. I got up there and I said, ‘How do I get a gig?’ And she says, ‘Well, we have December 30th open.’ I said, ‘I’ll take it,’’’ said Lady Kat Sings. The rest is history.