A-DEG-BA-LO-LASay it!

Bio

Gaye Todd was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She graduated as valedictorian of the then-segregated Walker-Grant High School. She finished Boston University with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked as a technical writer for TRW Systems, a biochemical researcher at Rockefeller University, and a bacteriologist at Harlem Hospital. She has a Master's degree in Educational Media (with a concentration in photography) from Virginia State University.

In the early '70s, she began her teaching career. She was an educator in the Fredericksburg City Public School system for 18 years, and honored as Virginia State Teacher of the Year in 1982. Throughout her teaching career, she directed Harambee 360º Experimental Theater. She was able to creatively use 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, Ms. Adegbalola moonlighted as a musician. By maintaining the blues legacy, she now sees herself as a contemporary griot – keeping the history alive, delivering messages of empowerment, ministering to the heartbroken, and finding joy in the mundane. As a founding member of Saffire – the Uppity Blues Women, she became a full-time performer. (Saffire ended in November, 2009, after making music together for 25 years.)

She has toured nationally and internationally, and has won numerous awards including the prestigious Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Award – the Grammy of the blues industry). Also of importance, in 2011 Gaye was named an OUTstanding Virginian by Equality Virginia for championing GLBT equality. Further, in 2012, she received the Parents' Choice Gold Award for Music for her children's CD, "Blues in All Flavors". As of 2014, Adegbalola has 15 CDs in national distribution, including 4 on her own label, Hot Toddy Music. Gaye composes, sings and plays acoustic guitar, slide guitar, and harmonica.

She is the mother of son, Juno Lumumba Kahlil. Motherhood is essential to her bio.

She currently performs in several configurations:

Solo
Gaye: mainly original songs with guitar

Duo
Neo-Classic Blues: Gaye with accompanist Roddy Barnes

Band
Gaye fronts "Gaye Adegbalola & The Wild Rutz" - a four piece a cappella blues groups (with some percussion & guitar)
Gaye as a guest with other bands and musicians

A dynamic speaker and a natural teacher, Gaye Adegbalola can engage, provoke, and inspire just about any audience. She currently lectures and presents various workshops including, but not limited to:

Workshops

Presentations & Lectures Gaye Adegbalola continues to work diligently for ways to improve the human condition in her daily life. 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. A long time activist, she is presently involved with issues of diversity and is committed to the struggle for GLBT rights.

More About Gaye