30 Nov 2016
Fatu Gayflor, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
Fatu Gayflor with drummer Blamoh Jerry Doe, 2007. Photo by James Wasserman.
Fatu Gayflor, 2013. Photo by Anna Mulé.
Fatu Gayflor in performance with the Liberian Women's Chorus for Change at he Cedar Works, Philadelphia, 2013. Photo by Toni Shapiro-Phim.
"I continue to compose and re-interpret older songs, always looking to capture and share cultural knowledge that helps us to be better human beings."
Fatu Gayflor (b. 1964) learned music, dance, and traditional arts at an early age in rural Liberia. By the age of 14, she was a full-time performing artist, dubbed "Princess Fatu" by Liberian President William R. Tolbert, due to her extraordinary singing ability. After two civil wars in her home country, Gayflor immigrated to Philadelphia to start anew. Since then, she has strived to pursue her traditional practice and to connect with the Liberian community through music. She states that her goal is "to use singing and songwriting to build cooperation and community among Liberians." Gayflor has recorded three albums, most recently The Princess Diaries, which was produced in Philadelphia. She has received awards from the Leeway Foundation and from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She is a veteran of Liberia's national ensemble, the Kendeja National Cultural Troupe.