Race and Song was born in 2020 out of a deep bond and nearly 30-year friendship between veteran musicians and storytelling troubadours Reggie Harris and Alastair Moock. Together in musical conversation, the two explore complex issues of race, class, gender, and history, framing their lived experiences through music for a program that’s as entertaining as it is educational.
One of Alastair and Reggie’s greatest strengths as a duo is their ability to meet audiences where they are, adapting their conversation and musical repertoire for a wide range of ages and experiences.
Reggie and Alastair bring Race and Song to dozens of schools each year, from elementary to high school. Through their interactive, assembly-style program, they explore what it means to live in one’s skin, how to talk more productively about race, and how our country’s past informs the present. Improvising together on songs like “Wade in the Water,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and original compositions, the duo demonstrate the unique ability of music to express sorrow, joy, creativity, and determination… A must see program for anyone interested in booking race-conscious work for young people.
For adults who want to deepen their understanding of antiracism and get more comfortable talking about difficult subjects, Race and Song is an invitation to listen, learn, and engage. Reggie and Alastair have performed together at theaters, arts centers, houses of worship, libraries, senior centers, and universities nationwide, modeling what productive interracial conversations about race can look like while swapping tunes and inviting audience participation in a welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere.
Reggie Harris has traveled the world for over 40 years as a songwriter, storyteller and lecturer using music and the spoken word to make an impact in education, social and racial justice, the environment, faith and in human and civil rights. He is a teaching artist in the John F Kennedy Center’s CETA program, a Woodrow Wilson Scholar, and the Director of Music Education for the Living Legacy Project, leading civil rights pilgrimages throughout the South. In 2021, he received a lifetime Spirit of Folk Award from Folk Alliance International.
Learn about Reggie’s other education programs HERE.
Alastair Moock is an award-winning singer-songwriter who has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia, performing at renowned events like the Newport Folk Festival and sharing the stage with acts like Arlo Guthrie, Taj Mahal, and Greg Brown. He’s also a Grammy nominated children’s musician, social justice educator for all ages, and co-founder of two antiracist music organizations, The Opening Doors Project and Family Music Forward. The Boston Globe calls him “one of the town’s best and most adventurous songwriters” and The Washington Post says “every song is a gem.”
Learn about Alastair’s other education programs HERE.
Over our three years of programming, we’ve built deep relationships with many of the artists we’ve presented in concert. Some of those artists have since become regular partners with us in Race and Song. At times when Reggie or Alastair are unavailable, these incredible musicians may be free to jump in and perform the show with one or the other. Some also have solo programming of their own to offer.
Kemp Harris is an artist whose music spans and transcends soul, blues, jazz, and musical theater. When not working as a beloved, award-winning kindergarten teacher in Newton for 40 years, he was sharing the stage with artists like Gil Scott-Heron and Taj Mahal, and composing original music for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Check out Kemp’s other education programs HERE.
Pamela Means is an out(spoken), bi-racial songwriter whose “kamikaze” guitar style has worn a hole in two of her acoustic guitars. Her “stark, defiant songs” (The New York Times) set both the status quo and stage afire. Ani DiFranco says, “You groove so deep, I can’t get out. And I wouldn’t want to.”
With truth as ammunition, Pamela brings the fight for social justice and human dignity to the forefront of a new generation.
Zakiyyah is an opera singer, rapper, activist, and entrepreneur who has crafted a unique sound she calls “Hip-Hopera.” She currently serves as a trustee for the Free for All Concert Fund, an organization that helps bring classical music to new audiences, and teaches voice through Harvard’s Holden Voice Program.
Zakiyyah also offers a number of writing and arts-activism programs for teens.
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