Gaye Adegbalola

Gaye Adegbalola to Present Black History Month Concert at Germanna

by | Feb 18, 2016 | Music

By Susan Larson. Photo of Gaye Adegbalola & The Wild Rutz provided by GCC.

Fredericksburg native and internationally recognized blues artist, teacher and civil rights activist Gaye Adegbalola will perform at Germanna Community College (GCC) as part of the school’s 2016 Black History Month events.

The free Gaye Adegbalola & The Wild Rutz concert is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, at GCC’s Daniel Technology Center, 18121 Technology Dr. in Culpeper. Group members are Gaye Adegbalola, Gloria Jackson, Marta Fuentes and Tanyah Dadze Cotton.

Adegbalola is the daughter of Gladys P. Todd, a Fredericksburg teacher who organized sit ins at lunch counters in downtown Fredericksburg that were part of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, according to Mike Zitz, GCC, director of Media & Community Relations. Then a teenager, Gaye Todd — she later changed her name to Adegbalola — took part by picketing outside the Fredericksburg businesses targeted by the sit ins.

Adegbalola was valedictorian of the then-segregated Walker-Grant High School.

In the early 1970s, Adegbalola began her 18 year teaching career with Fredericksburg City Public Schools. She was named Virginia State Teacher of the Year in 1982.

At the same time, she and her father 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,” her website says.

During her teaching career, Adegbalola moonlighted as a musician. She became a full-time musician as a founding member of Saffire – the Uppity Blues Women, which performed for 25 years.

Adegbalola now fronts Gaye Adegbalola & The Wild Rutz — a four piece a cappella blues groups with some percussion and guitar. She composes, sings and plays acoustic guitar, slide guitar and harmonica. She performs as a guest with other bands and musicians.

Adegbalola has toured internationally and received numerous awards include the Blues Music Award and the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for Music for her children’s CD, “Blues in All Flavors.”

Adegbalola has 16 CDs in national distribution, including five on her own label, Hot Toddy Music.

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