The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change is a group of talented, internationally acclaimed, ethnically diverse Liberian artists based in Philadelphia. They use traditional songs, dances, and drama to call attention to issues impacting the local Liberian community, from the ongoing trauma of escaping the Liberian Civil War to the gender violence faced by many refugees in Philadelphia. In this way, they bring the power of Liberian traditional song to the forefront of efforts to make communities safe and strong.
Founding members are renowned singers and dancers from Liberia: Fatu Gayflor, Marie Nyenabo, Zaye Tete, and Tokay Tomah. The Chorus was formed in response to these artists’ own community research, which found that local Liberian immigrant women have a hard time accessing resources and getting the support they need. Together, these award-winning performers create music intended to encourage women to make their voices heard and to take positive steps forward. Chorus members say, “We are trying to reach the Liberian community, especially women and children, but we know that it is important to reach the entire family. We want to use our art as a way to break barriers. We want to spread the overall message of ‘respect.'”
The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change was developed by the Philadelphia Folklore Project as part of our Folk Arts and Social Change Residency program. This initiative supports local people in using folk arts and cultural heritage to shape new identities, social power and community well-being.
Update: We are grieved to say that Tokay Tomah passed away in 2017. You can read her obituary here: https://www.pewcenterarts.org/news/memoriam-tokay-tomah-traditional-african-vocalist-and-pew-fellow