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Gaye Todd was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She graduated as valedictorian of the then-segregated Walker-Grant High School and holds a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Boston U. 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 in Educational Media (photography) from Virginia State University.
She began teaching in the 70s, in the Fredericksburg City Public School system for 18 years, honored as Virginia State Teacher of the Year in 1982. She directed Harambee 360º Experimental Theater, using performance as a tool to assist black youth in gaining confidence as they struggled with identity issues during the spread of "integration."
Ms. Adegbalola moonlighted as a musician. By maintaining the blues legacy, she is 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). As of 2012, Adegbalola has 14 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.
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