"It was really great to work on this piece-to walk around my neighborhood and speak with my neighbors-–some I knew and some I had never met before. I live in one of those places where the changes are coming and every new season brings a different face to the block. I feel like people from all over the planet live in Crown Heights. I was a part of the first wave of groovy people that symbolized a dramatic change in the community. Now, many houses are up for sale and some of the old stores are closing. The first coffee bar can’t be too far away.

For Local Frequencies, I started by roaming the neighborhood. I picked 3 streets and named 3 pieces after them: Nostrand Ave is a big street with stores and traffic, jerk chicken and beauty supplies, where you can get your fresh sugar cane juice right on the street. Lincoln Place is a very earthy street with churches and houses. Rogers is full of traffic but quiet, with apartment buildings, houses and, storefront churches. Later I went out with a mic and a camera crew to film interviews with folks. I think people feel better about being on camera than just talking to a mic, they get shy around the mic. That’s why I wouldn’t let the crew get too close. I thought people would perform and I wanted to catch them in their element. It felt very revolutionary."

Toshi Reagon
Crown Heights
Brooklyn, New York

Toshi Reagon and Danny

Thanks to Tim Bright and Goat for speedy work and creativity and the community of Lincoln Pl., Nostrand Ave., and Rogers Ave. for sharing. Peace to all.”

‘Nostrand Avenue’, ‘Rogers Avenue’. and ‘Lincoln Place’ Produced by Toshi Reagon. All songs composed by Toshi Reagon black elephant music c 2003.

Nostrand Ave. recorded and mixed by Andrew Gilchrist at Truckfarm studios
Lincoln Pl. and Rogers Ave. recorded and mixed by Tim Bright at 60 Cycle Studios in Brooklyn.

Toshi Reagon lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is a singer-songwriter, producer, and full-time musician. She currently tours with her band Big Lovely and as a solo artist. Reagon attributes her musical abilities to her family, particularly her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon. Both parents belonged to SNCC's (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) The Freedom Singers, a folk group that sprung from the Civil Rights Movement. This rich musical heritage helped Toshi become saturated with a wide variety of music, from blues to Kiss. This led to a musical style that not only transcends classification but also expresses an ingrained political consciousness. Believing music is the way she deals with her political energy. Toshi once told Curve magazine, "From where you are, from who you are in your everyday life, that's where you make change...whatever your gig is, make change through your strength."

In 2003 and 2004 Toshi will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sweet Honey In the Rock, the group her mother founded, by playing select dates with them throughout the year. Reagon's previous albums are her 1994 self-released debut, The Rejected Stone, Smithsonian Folkways Kindness,1997, (which brought Toshi to the attention of many critics and converted them into longtime fans), the acclaimed 1999 release, The Righteous Ones, and last year’s self-titled album, Toshi. Please go to her web site, for more information on tours and recordings.

Crown Heights Links

Medger Evers College

Crown Heights Community Mediation Center:

Toshi’s site

All rights reserved. © 2003 Creative Time