Artist Profiles: Toshi Reagon

Toshi Reagon

Born in Atlanta and raised in Washington DC, Toshi Reagon cites her musical abilities from her family. Both parents belonged to SNCC’s (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) The Freedom Singers a folk group that sprung from the Civil Rights movement and toured the country to teach people about civil rights through song. Bernice Johnson Reagon is not only Toshi’s mom but the founder of the world renowned a capella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock (she retired in 2004 after 30 years with the group).

Toshi and her mom have collaborated on many projects together including co-producing many of Sweet Honey’s recordings. In 2009 they worked on ‘The Temptation of St. Anthony’, a musical-theater work based on a tale by Gustave Flaubert. The piece is directed by Robert Wilson with music and libretto by Bernice Johnson Reagon. Toshi wrote the instrumental arrangements and serves as the production’s musical director.

Her rich musical heritage led her to become saturated in many traditional styles of music feeding her desire to explore a range of music that was not as accessible from blues to Kiss. Admittedly Toshi says that she attempts to: ‘take whatever I’m really into and try to learn it and put it into music.’

Toshi is a recipient of 2004 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) award for Music Composition.

Discography

Justice (Flying Fish Records, 1990)
The Rejected Stone (1994)
Kindness (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997)
The Righteous Ones (Razor and Tie, 1999)
Africans in America Soundtrack (Ryko, 2001)
Toshi (Razor and Tie, 2002)
I Be Your Water (2004)
Have You Heard (Righteous Babe Records, 2005)
Until We’re Done (2008)
Lava: We Become (2009)
There and Back Again (2010)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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