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Presentations & Lectures

Gaye Adegbalola has been writing original songs, singing and playing guitar and harmonica for decades. She co-founded Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women in 1984 and has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Adegbalola is a Blues Music Award (BMA) winner for her song “Middle Aged Blues Boogie.” (The BMA, formerly the W. C. Handy Award, is the “Grammy” of the blues community.) As of 2019, she will have 17 recordings in national distribution including 6 on her own label, Hot Toddy Music. Her children’s CD, “Blues in All Flavors,” received the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for Music. Her most recent recording, “The Griot,” presents topical blues for topical times. A dynamic speaker and a natural teacher (former Virginia State Teacher of the Year), Gaye Adegbalola can engage, provoke, and inspire just about any audience. She currently offers lectures and facilitates various workshops, including, but not limited to those described here. Customized workshops, presentations and lectures can also be created by request.

To Book Gaye, Click HERE!

The History of Women in the Blues

Gaye traces the history of blues women from the 1920s to today. She shares video and/or audio clips from Bessie Smith to Billie Holiday, from Rosetta Tharpe to Big Mama Thornton, from Etta Baker to Etta James and many others. She illuminates how the history of working class black women is documented in blues lyrics. Musically, she highlights the many vocal techniques (wails, syncopation, phrasing, growls, etc.) that are used that give drama and immediacy to the performances of blues women. This presentation runs 1 1/2 to 2 hours. However, it can be presented as a full length course with in-depth information and more listening experiences.

See the brochure for more information. (PDF)

Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs

An engaging speech about the past, the present, and hopes for the future. Gaye shares her first-hand experiences and insights in the struggle for equality, from embracing the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, sitting-in and picketting, to the Black Power Movement and Malcom X, in order to find her own path on the journey to self-acceptance, empowerment and freedom. This thought-provoking and insightful lecture can be custom tailored from a time of 20 minutes to 2 hours (with facilitated discussion following the speech).

To Book Gaye, Click HERE!

Are Gay Rights Civil Rights?

Gaye traces her personal journey in the fight for equal rights. Many activists in today’s struggle for GLBT equality often compare this fight to that of black people during the civil rights movement of the ’60s. Many blacks, in turn, feel that members of the GLBT community haven’t nearly suffered the same oppression – the loss of roots, language and culture. Having been involved in both struggles, Gaye is able to present a unique and personal interpretation. This speech can run from 20 minutes to 2 hours (with facilitated discussion following the speech).

To Book Gaye, Click HERE!

Additional Performance Options