Okaidja’s goal is to bring peace and unity to the world by teaching it’s youth about cultual diversity. Born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, Okaidja began dancing and drumming at the age of 15. In 1994, at the age of 19, he was accepted as a professional dancer for the prestigious Ghana Dance Ensemble at the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studeis. During his 5-year career with the Ensemble Okaidja performed and conducted workshops locally and internationally. As a solo artist, Okaidja was invited to Germany to teach dancing and drumming workshops throughout the country. In 1999 he moved to the U.S to work with Homowo African Arts and Cultures traditional group Okropong. Okaidja created the traditional storytelling night as a part of Portland’s annual Homowo Festival. In 2002 Okaidja became a member of the Oregon Arts Commission for Artists in Residency Program. Due to the extensive training he received at the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studies, Okaidja is able to conduct exceptional educationa workshops and residencies on the origins of dance, rhythm, and storytelling in Ghana, West Africa. Through the Artists in Residency Program Okaidja travels to schools in rural Oregon to help kids discover the richness of Ghanaiain culture and to widen their perspective of other cultures in general. As a recording artist, Okaidja released his first CD, The Traditionalist, in 2004. Each track on the CD is his unique version of the traditional songs he grew up singing. The music illustrates the untouched rawness and emotions that are felt each time one hears the songs. He recently finished his second CD, Obutu Apla. On this album, Okaidja ventures away from the strictly traditional and combines elements from myriad cultures. Recently, Okaidja performed one of his compositions with the Portland Symphony.
Okaidja often performs for prestigious community events. He collaborates with:
* Harambee Center
*World Affairs Council
*Zoom Uganda Project
*Portland State University World Dance Office and Economics Dept.
*Colombia Gorge Community Educatio