Divine Daughters

Divine Daughters

5.0 1
by Rachel L. Bagby, Rachel Bagby

An extraordinary vocal artist, storyteller, and performer, Rachel Bagby has something to say. She calls on mothers, daughters, and sisters everywhere to reclaim their own voices by living "an out-loud devotion to freedom"--singing, whispering, speaking--and to respect their essential passions along the way. Deeply rooted in her own life story, Divine Daughters…  See more details below


An extraordinary vocal artist, storyteller, and performer, Rachel Bagby has something to say. She calls on mothers, daughters, and sisters everywhere to reclaim their own voices by living "an out-loud devotion to freedom"--singing, whispering, speaking--and to respect their essential passions along the way. Deeply rooted in her own life story, Divine Daughters is about the power of speech, the power of silence, the power of sound, and the power of storytelling.

In this unique and refreshing narrative, Rachel Bagby offers a powerful testament to the connection between self-expression, personal power, and restorative community. Divine Daughters reveals the relationship between the discovery and recovery of one's peerless voice and the experience of daughters as divine. Drawing on the experiences of her own tumultuous life-including creative fervor, rape, homelessness, and then critical success-Bagby chronicles the reclamation of both her voice and her passion and challenges us to do the same. With poetic lyricism and a great gift for storytelling, Bagby urges us to reap the empowering benefits that come from tapping into life's wellspring of sound and song.

Lyrically told, Bagby's story is at times painfully honest about her own struggles to find her true voice in relationship with "Life Itself." She reveals the power of voice with stories about courage and shame, forgiveness, infidelity, equality, and ecology. She asks us to articulate compassion every day and to amplify the daughterly divinity found in spiritual texts, legend, folktale, custom, and creation stories. Finally, she emphasizes the importance of nurturing our daughters's voices and charges womeneverywhere to create restorative communities that "consistently give voice to Life."

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A pain-filled autobiography by vocal artist, and composer Bagby. A former Stanford Law student, the author left school shortly before graduation to find herself. She met singer Bobby McFerrin at one of his concerts and then auditioned for his master class, recording her audition tape on an answering machine because she had no studio access or equipment. Through McFerrin, Bagby began singing with a women's group called Voicestra, which continues to sustain her both professionally and personally. She interweaves her autobiographical text with lyrics and music from her own compositions, adding flavor to an intensely personal story. Her music emerges from the childhood traumas of dealing with an alcoholic and heroin-addicted father, charming one moment and violent the next; of always playing second fiddle to her musically gifted brother, Nelson; of feeling second-best because she was a daughter and not a son; and of facing racism in educational institutions. As an adult, Bagby has also experienced her share of difficulties. At 25, after leaving law school, she lived on the streets for a month, smoking marijuana every day. When she pulled herself together enough to enroll in an "intentional community," she was raped on her first night there by a white man. Recovering from that rape has been a difficult process, with more recent heartaches (such as the miscarriage of a longed-for child and her husband's affair with a white woman) reopening old wounds. Through it all, Bagby tries affirm the female worth, especially the power of daughters, seeking out old stories which show daughters to be of divine lineage. She encourages other women to sing and scream out their own stories, and she offers aclear role model for the refusal to be silent. Raw and very moving, though its terminology ("the red times of my menstrual cycle," etc.) can be a bit trendy. (Author tour)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 7.67(h) x 1.06(d)

Read an Excerpt

Divine daughter sisters: an invitation

Enter these pages with the ears of one ready to hear deeply and be deeply heard.

Your voices are my voices.

A Cheyenne proverb says that a people is not broken until the hearts of the women are on the ground. I say our species won't be healthy until the hearts of the daughters are nourished and sound.

Hear, within these pages, song and story cycles of daughters' divine: births-lives-deaths-rebirths-lives. Hear here chants of our lifetimes, sorrow songs and freedom songs, spirituals, praisesongs, and bawdy ballads. Listen, look deeply within these pages for daughters' ways of coming to power-filled terms with interior suns.

Divine daughter sisters, your voices are my voices.

We reach each daughter's soul only by voice, by ear, by heart, and by our singing what we know'bone deep'to be true.

Ours are the voices now becoming skilled in telling all who claim to love us: Show your love by listening deeply.

Hear us.

Gather near and lend us your hearts' middle ears.

Our daughterly living and learning accompanies Life's voices. We call and Life responds to our yearnings to be free.

Hear here our dances with the many times and places that require savvy silences. Hear here the places and the ears receptive to our roars.

Hear, within these pages, the polyrhythmic choruses of miracles igniting our upbringings into coming 'rounds of lit living.

Your voices are my voices.

Your voices are my voices, divine daughter sisters.


Bringings Up and Comings 'Round:
Daughters' Songs

I am a drummer's daughter

daughter of pounding
daughter of sound
of dancing

I am
a child ofmusic
child of movement


and still

What People are saying about this

Carol Lee Flinders
"May I never again use a phrase like 'finding voice' or 'embodied knowledge' as though I thought I knew what it meant. Rachel Bagby has picked me up gently and shaken me hard, and for all she has taught me I am forever grateful. For it's one thing to know in a general way that sexism is intimately connected with racism. But Divine Daughters takes us way past theory, to the places deep inside ourselves where "othering" has hurt us the most, and where our own acts of "othering" start as well: more than that, it offers us powerful strategies -- whole-voiced, whole-bodied, redemptive and sometimes riotous -- for turning it all around."
Carolyn Brown
"This is a narrative of deep seeing and clear feeling. Rachel, the wounded healer, offers us the transforming solace of her truth."
Terry Tempest Williams
Divine Daughters is a hymn to the power of one woman's voice. Rachel Bagby embodies a voice of sanity. Through her courage and capacity to listen, she sings down the chants of slavery and bigotry and longing and begins a new song of healing and reverence for all life. Within her heart and the heart of her family and community, we recognize an awakening. This is a story of grace. After reading this book, I walked outside to a quiet place. I could still hear the bittersweet music rising from these pages, offerings of bold peace.
Naomi Wolf
As an instinctive, truly original voice, Rachel Bagby has written the tale of a journey of spiritual, literary and political awakening to self authority. Divine Daughters breaks the boundaries of the usual narratives about coming into power as a woman in America by showing how the soul, while informed by it's experiences of race and gender, need not be limited by stereotypes or categories.
Bobby McFerrin
"Rachel Bagby believes passionately in the concept of music as a life-sustaining spirit, a nurturing umbilical cord that weaves and flows through our lives, joining us together."
Daniel Goleman
"Rachel Bagby is an inspiration, a gift, a divine voice for our time."
Jean Shinoda Bolen
"An exceptionally stirring and perceptive personal story that is absorbing, and a source of insight and inspiration into bringing the divine daughter archetype to life."

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