Toshi Reagon is a singer, guitar player, songwriter, music director, producer, bandleader, and, some would say, healer. When people ask her what kind of music she plays - Blues? Folk? Jazz? Funk? Rock? Soul? R&B? Gospel? - she says, “What do you hear?” Collaborative work has long been at the core of her music-making; she’s collaborated with choreographers, film and theatre makers and singers, including Meshell Ndegeocello, Michelle Dorrance, Urban Bush Women, Nona Hendryx, Carl Hancock Rux, Jane Comfort Dance Co., Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Allison Miller, Robert Wilson, and, for decades, with her band BIGLovely. Her recognition of the ways song can powerfully focus, unite and mobilize people, her political consciousness, and dedication to bridging the arts and activism -- and her ability to transform everyone in the room -- was bred in the bone. Her ‘favorite collaborator,’ the civil rights activist, and founder of the legendary a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, Bernice Johnson Reagon, is her mother. Together they created the opera The Parable of the Sower based on afro-Futurist Octavia E. Butler’s prescient book about climate change, climate justice and systemic inequality set in a dystopian future. Toshi’s work is beautiful, empowering, haunting, incendiary, and loving: she’s an example of how an artist might change the world.

""Music is the best version of myself showing up. I cannot be alone in this big world because of it. It has centered me in a wide family of incredible voices no matter where we live on the spectrum of creating sound.""


photo: Flora Hanitijo