Make a Way Toshi Reagon brings the music, and tells her story, at Monmouth University
Event: Toshi Reagon and BIGlovely
Date: Friday, March 27, 2015
Time: 8 p.m.
Where: Pollak Theatre, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, NJ
Sponsored By: Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts
Cost: $35/$25/ Contact Box Office for information on group rates
Box Office: www.monmouth.edu/arts or call 732-263-6889
Contact: Eileen Chapman at 732-571-3512
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (March 4, 2015) The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for a March 27 concert and discussion featuring Toshi Reagon, performing with her band BIGlovely.
Scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Pollak Theatre, the event represents a rare full-band area appearance for the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and guitarist who The New York Times hailed for her “love of mixing things up...[her] vocal style ranges from a dirty blues moan to a gospel shout to an ethereal croon.” As the offspring of Freedom Singers co-founders Dr. Bernice Johnson and Cordell Hull Reagon, she’s the bearer of an unassailable pedigree in musically infused social activism—and since the day that she was personally selected “straight out of college” to open for Lenny Kravitz on his first world tour, she’s successfully shared stages with artists that have ranged from Pete Seeger and Buddy Guy, to Elvis Costello and the seminal CBGB band Television.
Even before the release of her 1990 debut album “Justice,” Toshi Reagon had established her folk music bonafides—having been named for the wife of her godfather Pete Seeger, and having guested from an early age with her mother’s Grammy winning a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. With the evolution of her solo career—and her ventures into self-released recordings, inspired by Ani DiFranco—Reagon began to test the boundaries between rock, blues, R&B, country, folk, spirituals and funk; using her powerful voice to tear down the often-arbitrary firewalls of categorization.
When she first collaborated with the musicians known as BIGlovely in the mid-1990s, Reagon was already breaking free of the one woman/ one guitar template that defined her early onstage persona—and the addition of electric guitarist Adam Widoff to a lineup that included acoustic guitarist Judith Casselberry, mandolinist Catherine Russell, bassist Fred Cass and drummer Robert “Chicken” Burke added an extra edge of musical adventuring to a professional path that she describes as “very grass-roots, step by step, see something, grab a hold of it, make a way.”
Still performing on occasion with her mother (including a 2010 salute to the Civil Rights movement at the White House); still mixing it up on the road with the likes of the Dorrance Dance tap troupe; still hosting a weeklong slate of “Toshi Reagon B Day” concerts at NYC’s Joe’s Pub each January, Reagon comes to campus as the leader of an eclectic and extended musical family—one whose big heart and instinctive feel for the empowering aspects of music make her the stuff of living legend. Following the concert, the audience is invited to stay for a post-show discussion and Q&A, during which the artist will discuss her unique upbringing and how it has impacted her 30 year career in the music business, presented as part of the Artful Explorations of Gender series at Monmouth.
Tickets for the March 27 event featuring Toshi Reagon and BIGlovely are priced at $35 and $25 (with a Gold Circle seating option available for $50), and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. Tickets for other upcoming events in the Performing Arts series at Monmouth University—including Peter Yarrow (April 19) and Roger McGuinn (April 24)—are also on sale now.