AACLive: Gaye Adegbalola

Teacher, storyteller, activist, singer, songwriter.

In the early ‘70’s, Gaye Adegbalola began her teaching career. She was an educator in the Fredericksburg City Public School system for 18 years and was Virginia State Teacher of the Year in 1982. Throughout her teaching career, she directed Harambee 360 Experimental Theater where she creatively used performance as a tool to assist black youth in gaining confidence as they struggled with identity issues during the spread of “integration.” During her teaching career, she moonlighted as a musician, maintaining the blues legacy and keeping its history alive, delivering messages of empowerment, ministering to the heartbroken and finding joy in the mundane.

As a founding member of the Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women ensemble, she made the transition to full-time performer. Gaye has toured internationally and has won numerous awards including the prestigious Blues Music Award as well as numerous nominations for her composing, singing, songwriting, and mastery of both acoustic and slide guitar as well as harmonica.

She can engage, provoke, and inspire just about any audience. In the music she composes, she provides a voice for those who have been marginalized by society. With her unique writing style, she is often able to find humor in the pain which, in turn, empowers her listeners to live and not just survive.

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