in Ghana, the son of a traditional healer, Obo Addy
grew up around the drumming and vocal music of Ghana's
Ga people. Along with his brothers, Yacoub and Mustapha,
Obo formed a dynamic group, which quickly rose to the
top of Ghana's booming music scene in the mid-1960's.
After touring Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia with
Oboade, the Addy brothers eventually toured the United
States to critical acclaim in the 1970's.
the ensemble dispersed, Obo Addy formed the nucleus
of a drumming network in Portland that has now spread
throughout the Pacific Northwest. Splitting his energies
between a traditional project called Okoropong and an
Afro-jazz group called Kudrudu, Obo has kept busy over
the years training musicians for his band and teaching
has brought to the Northwest a steady stream of Ghanian
drummers and dancers to support his efforts, and they
have enriched the cultural landscape immeasurably as
they spread out through the region. Obo has recorded
numerous albums and in 1996 was honored with a National
Heritage Fellowship award by the National Endowment
for the Arts. He also collaborated with noted jazz musician
Julian Priester to create and premiere "Confluence"
a new composition commissioned by Jack Straw Productions.
Addy's greatest contribution is perhaps his teaching
of Ghanian music. He has adapted traditional Ghanian
instruction techniques to the restlessness of American
children and the structures of the school year. He has
also adapted traditional patterns to new instruments
and encourages young musicians to create their own music.
of Obo Addy's songs are included on Safarini
- Amedzro and Oshi. "Oshi" means
"pound your foot to the beat" and is a pop arrangement
of traditional Ga music. This song is an excellent example
of how Obo adapts drum rhythms into guitar, bass and