African musical history comes to life when master drummer Obo Addy steps on stage. As a prominent member of the first generation of African musicians to bring their traditional and popular music to Europe and America, this versatile magician of the drums embodies the past, present and future of Ghana's musical culture. An original and respected composer whose music reaches far beyond the boundaries of his land of birth, Addy has a twenty-year presence on the international performing arts scene and has become known for his ability to celebrate past traditions while expanding to embrace new ideas and foreign influences. Internationally, Obo Addy's contribution can be measured by the fact that he is one of the key originators of the seminal musical movement now known as "Worldbeat."
It is not by accident that Obo Addy is a musical bridge between old and new, between Ghanaian and foreign. His musical background is a combination of the rigorous standards of ritual music he learned from his father, a Wonche Priest, with the flashy international pop music he performed as a young professional with big bands in Accra, Ghana. After moving away from performing Western standards on the nightclub circuit, Obo Addy joined the National Arts Council of Ghana, becoming a master in the traditional music and dance of the many cultures in Ghana. Now living in the United States, he has created two colorful performing ensembles, each expressing one of the two closely-related sides of his musical personality; traditional and popular.
Lift every voice...Not only is he a percussionist of consummate skill, but Obo Addy is a singer and vocal arranger of unique character whose harmonic ideas and expressive vocal tone demonstrate for audiences the very real connections between West African and African-American singing styles. The musical compositions performed by both Okropong and Kukrudu, are frequently preceded by stirring polyphonic vocal introductions which display these characteristics.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
In 1992, Obo Addy was commissioned by the innovative classical music rebels, the Kronos Quartet to compose "Wawshishijay" for their chart-topping album Pieces of Africa. Addy continues to pursue other opportunities for commissions. Obo Addy has been awarded the Oregon Arts Commission and Regional Arts & Culture Council Master's Fellowship, the Governors Award for the Arts and recognition from the Oregon Multicultural Education Association. In 1996, he was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship Award by the National Endowment for the Arts. This is the highest honor a traditional artist can receive in this country. Obo is the first African born artist to ever receive the award.