Toshi Reagon to Explore Music of Prince and Michael Jackson at MASS MoCA

Toshi Reagon (photo  JOMOTO/Molly Rubin and Tony DiPietro)

Toshi Reagon (photo JOMOTO/Molly Rubin and Tony DiPietro)

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Soul singer and guitarist Toshi Reagon — who just last week triumphed at Jacob’s Pillow in “The Blues Project,” her collaboration with Dorrance Dance – returns to the Berkshires when she brings “The Love Session: Michael Jackson vs. Prince,” a deep dive into the songbooks of two American soul-pop icons, to Courtyard C at MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 11, 2015, at 8pm.

The show features Reagon and a spectacular group of collaborators – including Ki Ki Hawkins, Tamar-kali, Morley, Martha Redbone, Xavier Smith, Rachel Eckroth, Ganessa James, Allison Miller, Alex Nolan, and Chala Yancy – taking on Prince and Michael Jackson’s hits and B-sides alike. Toshi Reagon performs outdoors in MASS MoCA’s Courtyard C, or inside the Hunter Center, if it rains.

Armed with her signature blend of rock, blues, R&B, country, folk, gospel, and funk, force-of-nature Reagon is known for mixing things up with a fearless attitude and top-notch musical chops to boot. She comes roaring into MASS MoCA with her crew, ready to take on two of the most legendary chart-toppers in pop history in a show that’s been called “a one-woman celebration of all that’s dynamic, progressive and uplifting in American music.”

Reagon’s impressive vocal range and guitar gymnastics combine with her fierce attitude, resulting in an all-out musical smackdown where Reagon treats audiences to a brilliant twist on MJ and Prince’s catalogues of classic hits.

Toshi Reagon was born in Atlanta. Her musical pedigree includes her mother, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, a founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and a co-founder of Freedom Singers with Reagon’s father, Cordell Hull Reagon — a leader of the civil rights movement in Albany, Georgia. Reagon is the goddaughter of the late Pete Seeger, whose wife, Toshi Seeger, is Reagon’s namesake.

Reagon’s career began when she left college, and took off when she opened for Lenny Kravitz during his first world tour. She has been performing with her band, BIGLovely, since 1996. Over the course of her three-decades-long career, she has performed with marquee musicians such as Elvis Costello, Ani DiFranco, Nona Hendryx, Pete Seeger, and Dar Williams. Reagon is an Art of Change Ford Foundation Fellow.

Since first taking the stage at age 17, Reagon has become synonymous with the unconditionally courageous stage presence that got her noticed by Kravitz when she was barely in college. A veteran live performer, Reagon is utterly devoted to keeping her audiences inspired.

Dinner and snacks are available from Lickety Split before and during the show. A full bar serves Berkshire Brewing Company beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Tickets are $20 in advance and for students, $26 the day of, and $36 for preferred seating. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am – 5pm Wednesdays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through June 25. Starting June 26, the box office will be open 10am to 6pm every day, with extended evening hours to 7pm on Thursdays through Saturdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA. All events are held rain or shine.

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