Tokay Tomah performing at a PFP community event, June 2012

Tokay Tomah

Tokay Tomah is a Liberian singer and dancer who started her training as a young girl in the late 1970s when then-president William Tolbert and then-Director of Culture Peter Ballah recruited her from her hometown in Nimba County to join the Liberian National Troupe. She began doing background vocals for famous Liberian singers Fatu Gayflor, Zaye Tete, and others, in the 1980s.

In the mid-1990s Tokay started her work with the United Nations on disarmament and reconciliation. She continued singing for peace, and asking, through song, that combatants lay down their arms, for more than a decade. In addition to her peacebuilding work, she carried out awareness campaigns on HIV/AIDS, rape, sexual exploitation and abuse, and other issues, all through performance. Tokay served as the executive director of a Liberian non-governmental organization, Women and Society, advocating for equity for women.

In 2000 she produced her first album, Chay Chay Poley, which established her as Liberia's premiere female recording artist at that time. She has since produced six additional CDs, and has been honored with awards from the Musicians Union of Liberia, Africare Liberia, and the Ministry of Agriculture. She has performed in England, Ghana, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Libya, Nigeria and elsewhere. Her 2010 album, Open the Door, shares a message about taking responsibility for one's impact on one's own community.

While visiting the United States in 2007 Tokay was a featured speaker on a panel about the relationship between art and war at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. She moved to the United States permanently in 2011, and recorded her latest CD, What You Know About Me, in 2012.