Word*Rock*& Sword: A Musical Celebration of Women’s Lives VI Word*Rock*& Sword: A Musical Celebration of Women’s Lives VI

with Toshi Reagon, Tamar-kali, Martha Redbone, Morley, Joan As Police Woman, Judith Casselberry, Marcelle Davies Lashley, Allison Miller, Ganessa James, Lyris Hung, Juliette Jones, Christelle Durandy, KimberlyNichole, Climbing Poetree, Mal Devisa, Nona Hendryx, Pri The Honeydark, Be Steadwell, Imani Uzuri, Julie Wolf, DJ Mursi Layne & MC Karen Williams

Sat September 24th, 2016


Main Space

Minimum Age: 18+

Doors Open: 6:00PM

Show Time: 6:00PM

Event Ticket: $20

Day of Show: $25

event description event description

Word*Rock*&Sword official site
Word*Rock*&Sword on Twitter

This is a general admission, standing event.

the artists the artists














Word*Rock*& Sword: A Musical Celebration of Women’s Lives VI

Toshi Reagon

Toshi Reagon official site | Toshi Reagon on Twitter | Toshi Reagon on Facebook | Toshi Reagon on Instagram
Described by Vibe magazine as “one helluva rock’n’roller-coaster ride” and by Pop Matters as “a treasure waiting to be found,” Toshi Reagon is a one-woman celebration of all that’s dynamic, progressive and uplifting in American music. Since first taking to the stage at age 17, this versatile singer-songwriter-guitarist has moved audiences of all kinds with her big hearted, hold-nothing-back approach to rock, blues, R&B, country, folk, spirituals and funk. The New York Times described her blend as “…a love of mixing things up…[her] vocal style ranges from a dirty blues moan to a gospel shout to an ethereal croon.” Her live performances, in particular, aren’t just accessible; they’re irresistible. And Toshi Reagon loves her audiences. Leading her renowned band–BIGLovely, launched in 1996–she instantly connects, inspires and empowers.
Photo credit: JOMOTO/Molly Rubin and Tony DiPietro


Tamar-kali official site | Tamar-kali on Facebook | Tamar-kali on Twitter | Tamar-kali on Bandcamp
A Tamar-kali performance is a study in a soul yearning to break free of its earthly bounds. There are moments when her voice soars amidst a flurry of hardcore guitar riffs, earth shaking shimmies and gyrations that you believe you may just witness its escape. Her independent artistry, eclectic sound and versatility have allowed her to perform on variety of domestic and international stages with a diverse list of artists from Paramore and Fishbone to Jean Grae and The Roots.

Martha Redbone

Miss Redbone’s music flows equally from her own unique, award-winning blend of Native American elements with funk and her deep roots in Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues favored by the matriarchy that raised her on a rich sojourn from Clinch Mountain, Virginia to Harlan County, Kentucky and beyond to Brooklyn’s Dodge City-esque mean streets. Indeed, Garden Of Love seamlessly evokes the mid-20th century old timey gold rush when such artists as her fellow Kentuckians Jim Ford and Jackie DeShannon fearlessly infused their downhome blues between canyon air ballets and retronuevo cabinessence – before their followers developed newgrass and Redbone’s twangy forebears Buffy Sainte-Marie and Rita Coolidge brought Indigenous concerns to the rock & roll arena in the 1970s. Yet don’t call this project bluegrass or the purists might have a fit.


Morley official site | Morley on Facebook | Morley on Twitter
From Carnegie Hall, Nice Jazz Festival to the Nomad Women’s Festival in the Sahara Desert, Morley has brought her unique blend of jazz, folk and soul to the world’s stage. Be it solo with her acoustic guitar or with full electric band, her message is consistent and clear; love, justice and inspiration. Morley performs all over the world, and had the distinct honor of presenting at TEDWomen. Her song “Women of Hope” (video by Damani Baker “Still Bill”) has been featured in Nobel Women’s Initiative documentaries and has brought her before many world leaders and policy makers. She has performed for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Ban Ki-moon, Mary Robinson, and Ela Gandhi. She has written, collaborated, and shared the stage with such distinguished artists as Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Toshi Reagon, Richie Havens, Robert Wilson, Raul Midón, Amadou et Mariam, Joan Wasser, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Queen Latifah, Angélique Kidjo, Sarah McLachlan, Max Roach, Wynton Marsalis,Joan Wasser, Manu Katche and Cassandra Wilson.   Morley’s previous recording, Seen, came out on Universal/Polydor. Prior to that, the Days Like These CD was released independently, before being picked up by Universal. Morley’s debut, Sun Machine, was released on Sony/WORK, songs from her albums have been featured on several television programs, both nationally and internationally. Morley’s voice was also featured as the soundtrack for the Ralph Lauren fragrance, “My Romance”.

Joan As Police Woman

Joan As Police Woman official site | Joan As Police Woman on Facebook | Joan As Police Woman on Twitter | Joan As Police Woman on Instagram | Joan As Police Woman on YouTube

Joan as Police Woman (Joan Wasser) is a world-renowned recording artist, songwriter, performer, producer and multi-talented instrumentalist. First trained as a classical violinist, Wasser was influenced by the music of Jimi Hendrix, Siouxie and the Banshees, Nina Simone, and Black Flag. She went on to perform in a number of alternative rock bands including The Dambuilders, Those Bastard Souls, and Helium. Throughout the early 2000s, Wasser went on to collaborate with artists including John Cale, Lou Reed, David Sylvian, Antony & The Johnsons, and Rufus Wainwright, several of whom went on to be featured on her own records. In 2002, Wasser formed Joan as Police Woman, and her debut album Real Life was released in 2006 to great acclaim. Pitchfork celebrates her songs that “remind us of a time when pop tunes wound up in jazz clubs without losing anything in translation.” She recently returned from an extensive European tour for her 6th studio album, Let it Be You, a collaboration with Benjamin Lazar Davis. Tonight Wasser will play songs from her upcoming unreleased album and is joined by Parker Kindred, Ben Perowsky, Oren Bloedow, Jared Samuel and Thomas Bartlett.

“Soulful adventurism – a voice so wondrous and moving it makes everyone else’s seem ordinary and mundane” THE GUARDIAN

“Ravishing and lovelorn” MOJO

“The coolest woman in pop” THE TIMES

Judith Casselberry

Judith Casselberry
Judith Casselberry is the Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Bowdoin College. She holds degrees in:
Ph.D., Yale University – African American Studies and Anthropology
MA, Wesleyan University – Ethnomusicology
Bachelors of Music, Berklee College of Music – Music Production and Engineering
Casselberry’s research and teaching interests include the anthropology of Black Americans in the United States, exploring “racial” authenticity, identity construction, and Black public cultures as they change over time; women, gender, and religion, examining ways women negotiate power within religious institutions that incorporate doctrines of female submission; and music and social movements, analyzing intersections of ethnicity, gender, and class in the formation of religious, spiritual, political, and social consciousness and the production of musical genres. Her dissertation, entitled “Blessed Assurance: Belief and Power Among African American Apostolic Women,” examines the workings of spiritual authority within a New York based Holiness-Pentecostal denomination and the extent to which it enables a particular form of female power.
Casselberry, as a vocalist/guitarist, performs nationally and internationally with Toshi Reagon and BigLovely. Over the past seven years she has participated in European tours of “The Temptation of Saint Anthony,” directed by Robert Wilson with book and libretto by Bernice Johnson Reagon.

Marcelle Davies Lashley

Marcelle Davies Lashley official site
Brooklyn native and baby of seven children born to West African parents from Liberia and Sierra Leone respectively is a psalmist extraordinaire. She began singing in the church choir at the age of 5 and never stopped. The sultry sound of the warm musical instrument of her voice will melt your heart and feed your soul. Marcelle has travelled to six of seven continents soothing and exciting the world in melody and song with a stage presence and sincerity that is second to none. She toured to Turkey with Craig Harris and the Nation of Imagination. Marcelle played the role of the Queen of Sheba in the national and international tour of Robert Wilson’s opera The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Gustave Flaubert with the amazing libretto written by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon. Marcelle is featured as a percussionist with the hypnotizing skills of her tambourine on Toshi Reagon’s Have You Heard and on Carl Hancock Rux’s Cornbread, Cognac and Collard Green Revolution as a featured vocalist. She has rendered her musical gift to the background vocals of BeBe and CeCe Winans Greatest Hits and Liz Wright to name a few. Marcelle had the honor of being the mistress of ceremony at the Jazz Foundation of America’s Gala Performance at the historically acclaimed Apollo Theater in the spring of 2012. Marcelle has worked as a musician coloring and making everyone else sound good lending background vocals with Angelique Kidjo, Bono and Macy Gray. South Africa, London, Italy, Germany, Australia, France, Portugal, New York City and the universe is better for the likes of the music from the depth and gospel jazz soul fusion of Marcelle Davies-Lashley.

Allison Miller

Ganessa James

Ganessa James official site | Ganessa James on Facebook | Ganessa James on Twitter | Ganessa James on Soundcloud
I think I was born loving music.
I probably started singing in the womb, harmonizing with my twin sister Tiffany James.
I know I soaked up music like a sponge, sang all the time as a kid, and eventually went on to join acapella groups in the schools I went to. Singing harmony felt like sustenance.
When I was nineteen, I bought my first bass and learned how to play it. When I was twenty, I bought my first acoustic guitar, and learned how to play that. I started writing and recording my songs while learning how to play my instruments.
Eventually, I played some open mics with my sister and our band Onliest. Some really cool people saw me playing bass and asked me to join their bands. I took the leap. It took me places: across the country with Saul Williams, on some of the coolest stages in New York with Onliest, Shelley Nicole’s blaKbushe, Derrin Maxwell, Paul Josephs, JOI, Toshi Reagon, and across the Atlantic with Tamar-Kali and the BRC. I even played bass live on a song for Nona Hendryx in last years’s Word Rock Sword event.
I’ve played Michfest as a solo artist and in support of some of my favorite artists, including Joan As Policewoman, and Gina Breedlove, and Shelley Nicole’s blaKbushe. I put out an EP called Believer with a few acoustic ruminations, and I’m working on a new album about falling in love, being in love, looking for love (you get the picture).
It’s been a pretty cool journey so far, and the music keeps coming. Thanks for listening, and stay tuned. Where the rabbit hole goes, none of us knows.
In Love and Music,
Ganessa James

Lyris Hung

Lyris Hung official site
Lyris began her violin studies at the age of 3 in the exotic wilds of Fairfield County, Connecticut. At 11, she was accepted into the Juilliard Pre-College Division and at 17, she started a double-degree program between the Juilliard School and Columbia University where she earned a B.A. in Anthropology and Music from Columbia and an M.M. in Violin Performance from Juilliard.
At college, Lyris was active in contemporary music performance, playing regularly with the New Juilliard Ensemble and at the Museum of Modern Arts Summergarden concerts. She worked as Musical Director of many musical productions at Columbia, where she also studied composition and electronic music. At Juilliard during that time, she performed with a number of stellar conductors such as James DePriest, Kurt Masur, Pierre Boulez, and Bobby McFerrin, and toured Japan and Korea with the Juilliard Orchestra.
Since then, Lyris has become an active session violinist in NYC, performing and recording with artists from many genres. She has been heard on Bryan Adams’ MTV Unplugged, live with Bono and Quincy Jones at the 1999 NetAid concert, live with the 2003 Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and has toured Europe and America with RCA recording artist Ke. She has also played with hip-hop giant Jay-Z and Beyoncé with ?Love of the Roots, Dan Zanes, Ornette Coleman, the Indigo Girls, Toshi Reagon, and many others.
Aside from working with bands, Lyris enjoys collaborating with artists from other media. She has composed and performed with choreographers, musical directed theater pieces, worked as sound designer for games and other interactive media, as well as been behind the board as a producer.
Lyris’ trip-hop comedy/music duo with Kate Rigg, Slanty Eyed Mama, performs at colleges and festivals around the world, including the Perth International Arts Festival (Australia), The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Vancouver International Comedy Festival, Grand Performances L.A., and the NY Asian American Heritage Festival in Union Square Park. They were also featured on PBS’ Race in the Place.
Lyris’ progressive death metal band HUNG, has released several albums and is currently in the studio working on a new one.

Juliette Jones


The press, the public and powerful names in the entertainment industry agree. Singer- songwriter Kimberly Nichole is a force to be reckoned with. Exploding on the national scene on season 8 of The Voice, Kimberly Nichole garnered superlative praise from the likes of Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera, Lionel Richie, Mark Ronson and Reba McEntire with her show-stopping performances, stylish presence and vocal power. Fans clamored for the rock-and-soul music and led her to the iTunes’ Top 20 three weeks in a row. Born and bred in Seattle, Washington, Kimberly Nichole moved to New York City where she launched her career. National and international performances soon followed, allowing her to share the stage with such artists as Slash, Living Colour, Alice Smith, Janelle Monae, Nona Hendryx, Aloe Blacc, Bilal and English rock band The Heavy
KimberlyNicole official site

Mal Devisa


Nona Hendryx

If Labelle fans grieved the end of an era, Nona Hendryx fans would welcome a new one as the revolutionary art-rock, new-wave goddess embarked upon her own impressive solo career, which spanned eight studio albums and engaged her with an impressive line up of collaborators (from Prince, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Vernon Reid of Living Color, AfrikaBambata, Bono and the soul influenced funk band Cameo), resulting in several top ten hits and a Grammy nomination (“Rock This House,” from her album The Heat, 1985, with Keith Richards on guitar).
(read full bio here_
Nona Hendryx official site

Pri The Honeydark


Be Steadwell

Be Steadwell: With roots in jazz vocals, acapella and folk-Be composes a soulful blend of genres in what she calls queerpop. In her live performances, she utilizes loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage.Be Steadwell is a songwriter from Washington DC. Redefining the love song in a modern context-Be’s lyrics focus on love and resistance between women.

Be Steadwell official site
Be Steadwell on Facebook
Be Steadwell on Soundcloud
Be Steadwell on Bandcamp

Imani Uzuri

Innovative vocalist and composer Imani Uzuri is an eclectic artist who travels internationally from Morocco to Moscow creating and performing in world class venues across various genres including concerts, recordings, experimental theater, performance art and sound installations. Uzuri’s work has been called “stunning” by New York Magazine and incorporates her interests in world culture, experimentation and sacred music. She has earned critical acclaim for her debut album, Her Holy Water: A Black Girl’s Rock Opera as well as for her collaborations with diverse artists such as Herbie Hancock, John Legend, Wangechi Mutu, Sandford Biggers and Vijay Iyer. The Village Voices says, “With a voice that would sound equally at home on an opera stage or a disco 12-inch, Imani Uzuri is a constant surprise…seamlessly combining jazz, classical, country and blues motifs into highly personalized compositions.” Uzuri’s new album, The Gypsy Diaries, draws on her rural Southern roots as well as influences ranging from Sufi devotionals to Romany laments and features sitar, acoustic guitar, cello, violin, Japanese shinobue flute and world percussion. It is a vibrant lyrical and spiritual soundscape that was named #2 on Rhapsody’s World Top 10 List Summer 2012. Uzuri is currently composing a new musical GIRL Shakes Lose Her Skin that she is developing with playwright Zakiyyah Alexander inspired by the works of Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez. “Uzuri never fails to mesmerize audiences with her narcotic blend of…ethereal sounds” (Time Out New York)
Imani Uzuri official site

Julie Wolf


DJ Mursi Layne


MC Karen Williams


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