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O D A D A A !

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in NYC


Congo Square
in Montreal

Congo Square


Yacub Addy’s Odadaa! lights the stage with genuinely traditional Ghanaian classics and traditionally grounded newworks.Combining hot polyrhythmic percussion, rich vocals, bamboo flutes, balaphon, guitar, base, and dynamic dance that moves “like a river”, they offer sophisticated and virtuosic performance, yet retain a casual spontaneity that’s irresistable.odadaa

Formed in 1982, Odadaa! grew out of a succession of groups created by Yacub Addy since 1957 - first based in Ghana, then in Europe and now the United States. Addy named Odadaa! for an annual celebration of the Ga people held in Ghana’s capital of Accra that breaks a seasonal ban on drumming. The sound of the Odadaa rhythm signals, “The way is open! Let the music begin!”.

Odadaa!’s traditional instruments serve specific purposes. Each drum, each bell has a name, a voice, a function, a history. A variety of drums, from tall to short, cylindrical and rectangular, upright and hand-held, are played in various sets and combinations using ambidextrous hands, straight or curved sticks, sticks and hands, even hands and feet. A bell usually provides the critical basic beat, and interlocking drums, shakers, additional bells, bamboo flutes, guitar, bass, balaphons, and voices elaborate.

Robert Browning Quote • Calendar
• Slide Shows
• Biz (Sonicbids: bio, audio, video, requirements, etc.)
• Selected Appearances
• Reviews
• Media Releases
• New Work
     Congo Square Project
     • Kolo Project
• Special Programs

Selected Appearances: (top)


Montreal Jazz Festival, QE
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Ravinia Festival, Chicago, IL
Newport Folk Festival, RI
The Smithsonian Folk Festival, DC
Houston International Festival, TX
Canadian Folklore Festival, ON & QE
British-American Festival, Durham, NC
National Folk Festival, OH
America’s Reunion on the Mall 2003: President Clinton’s Inauguration, DC
Aspen Festival, Aspen, CO
Columbia Festival, MD
Festival of Folklore, San Juan, PR
Toyohashi Black Heritage Festival, Japan

Theaters, Colleges, Non Profits:

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, DC
Brooklyn Academy of Music, NYC
The Smithsonian Institution, DC
Symphony Space, NYC
Strand Theater, Boston, MA
Newark Symphony Hall, NJ
Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
Columbia College, NYC
Troy Music Hall, NY
Carver Cultural Center, San Antonio, TX
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, U of Maryland at College Park
Columbia College, Chicago, IL
Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI
Hamilton College, Utica, NY
Flynn Theater, Burlington, VT
Colden Center, Queens, NY
Cal Tech, Pasadena, CA
Tuskegee Institute, AL
Spellman College, Atlanta, GA
Jackie Gleason Theater, Miami Beach, FL
UNC Chapel Hill, NC
Chrysler Hall, Norfolk, VA
Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Allen Theater, Cleveland, OH
Orchestra Hall, Detroit, MI
Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail, CO

Reviews: (top)

"irresistable, hypnotically charged, earthy and stately... Odadaa! is a treasure."

- The New York Times

"... a glimpse into a living world in which music - drumming particularly - is the lifeblood of the community ... Though many of their compositions are original, Odadaa! base everything they do on the traditions of which they are inheritors. It's the power of the past extending itself into the present and the future. An evening spent with Odadaa! will echo within for many months after the event is past."
- Eric Goldman, Rhythm Magazine

"One of the great virtues of this group is its ability to re-create the feeling of traditional festival in theatrical spaces. While thoroughly professional, the group retains a feeling of casual spontaneity. The performers are internally focused....The emphasis is on emotional and kinetic response....it is easy to forget that what they are doing is highly virtuosic."
- Suzanne Levy, The Washington Post

"Odadaa! is a treasurehouse of Ghanaian culture that not only performs traditional music and dance but continually invents new forms rooted in tradition. This group of artists, led by master drummer Yacub Addy, has been living in our midst for more than 25 years, constantly enriching the cultural life of the U.S."
- Robert Browning, Executive & Artistic Director, World Music Institute, NYC

"Yacub is obviously a great master and teacher. The singers and dancers were fabulous and the drumming was great. It was a variety of music too ... congratulations to Odadaa! for a wonderful evening."
- Bill Cahn, NEXUS, Eastman School of Music

"Odadaa! deserves the exclamation point."
- Harriet McLeod, The Richmond News Leader

Media Releases: (top)

Congo Square (CD)
congo square
buy Congo Square CD from iTunes
buy Congo Square CD from JALC.org
Congo Square (DVD)
congo square DVD
buy Congo Square DVD from Barnes & Noble
buy Congo Square DVD from Amazon
rent Congo Square DVD from Netflix
buy Congo Square DVD from Emarcy (International)
Children of the Ancients (CD)
children of the ancients
buy Children of the Ancients from CDBaby


Yacub Addy’s ODADAA! - Children of the Ancients, Aku Music, Troy, NY, 1999.

Congo Square, 2-CD set.
Music written by Wynton Marsalis and Yacub Addy. Performed by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Yacub Addy's Odadaa!. Produced and released by Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC, 2007.


Congo Square DVD, 2008. Concert documentary of The Montreal Jazz Festival performance by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Yacub Addy's Odadaa!. Released in the U.S. by Shanachie Entertainment and internationally by Emarcy Records/Universal.


• Journey with Jazz at Lincoln Center, BET Jazz, 2003-05. Three episodes on Africa Jazz, Yacub Addy’s collaboration with Wynton Marsalis. Performed at Columbia University, NYC, by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Yacub Addy's Odadaa!.

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Spike Lee, 2006. Music selections and footage of final rehearsal for premiere of Congo Square in New Orleans.

• Congo Square: The Crescent City Concert,
Louisiana Public Broadcasting, 2006. Television and radio broadcast of New Orleans premiere in the State of Louisiana.

Tavis Smiley, PBS, 6/20/07, interview with Wynton Marsalis on Yacub Addy, Congo Square project and 2007 American tour.

Iconoclasts, Sundance Chanel, first broadcast 11/07. Episode re Wynton Marsalis & John Besh featuring Congo Square project and Montreal Jazz Festival 07 performance.

Congo Square, Bravo Canada, 2008. 48 min. documentary of performance at The Montreal Jazz Festival by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Yacub Addy's Odadaa!.


American Routes, 8/23/06. Selections from Congo Square premiere in New Orleans and interviews with Wynton Marsalis and Yacub Addy. Listen to August 23rd, 2006, Hour 2.

Congo Square, Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio, 2007, hosted by Wynton Marsalis. Selections from Congo Square recording at Rose Hall in NYC and interviews.


Dance Like A River: Odadaa! Drumming & Dancing in the U.S., 1985, 45-min. documentary, Indiana University. Represents Odadaa! in its beginnings in America, a former life.

New Work: (top)

Tsimo, collaboration between Yacub Addy and Gambian kora player Foday Musa Suso, 1993, World Music Institute, NYC. Performed by Yacub Addy's Odadaa! with guest artists Foday Musa Suso on kora and Yahaya Abdul-Majid on Jazz alto. Supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and The World Music Institute.

• Tsimo: A Concert of Traditionally Grounded New Ghanaian Work, 1999. Premiere at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. Performed by Yacub Addy's Odadaa! with guest artist Talib Kibwe on jazz alto and soprano sax and flute. Supported by Meet The Composer, African Exchange, a project of 651: An Arts Center, The Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The World Music Institute, and Skidmore College.

Kolo, new music speaking to Yacub Addy's life-long struggle for human rights, 1995. Premiere at the New York State Theater at The Egg, Albany. Performed by Yacub Addy's Odadaa! with guest jazz artist Stefon Harris on marimba. Supported by Aaron Davis Hall, N.Y.C. and The Egg (New York State Theater), Albany.

• Africa Jazz, collaboration between Yacub Addy and Wynton Marsalis, 2003, Columbia University, NYC. Performed by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Yacub Addy's Odadaa!. Supported by Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Congo Square, a 2-hour co-composition by Yacub Addy and Wynton Marsalis. Premiered in Congo Square in New Orleans 4/23/06. U.S. tours in 2006 and 07. Performed by Yacub Addy's Odadaa! and jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Supported by Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Egg (New York State Theater).


Special Programs: (top)

A Woman's Rights of Passage Among the Ga People of Ghana, 1983, The Renwick Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. A narrated performance-demonstration over two consecutive afternoons of the cultural life of an average Ga woman from her birth to her death, with traditional Ga foods. Conceived by Yacub Addy. Produced by Oboade Institute of African Culture, Yacub Addy, Artistic Director, Amina Addy, Manager. Performed by Odadaa! with members of the Washington, D.C. Ga community. Supported by The Office of Folklife Programs of The Smithsonian Institution.

• Homowo: Harvest Festival of the Ga People of Ghana,
1987, The Sylvan Theater, The Washington Mall, D.C. A community event with performance-enactment of the key rituals in the Ga cultural season from the celebration of Odadaa to Homowo and Gnowala. Conceived by Yacub Addy. Produced by Oboade Institute of African Culture, Yacub Addy, Artistic Director, Amina Addy, Manager. Performed by Odadaa! with members of the Washington, D.C. Ga community. Supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, Yacub and Amina Addy, The Parks Department, and the Ga-Adangme Association of Washington, D.C.

• U.S. Visit by The Ga Mantse Nii Amugi II, King of the Ga People,
1989, Washington, D.C. and New York City Durbas (traditional welcoming festivals), traditional welcoming at Union Station and appearance at The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, D.C.

• Burial Funeral, Wake-Keeping and Yalafemo (traditional second funeral) of Odadaa! members Joseph Quaye Thompson (1986) and George Adama Tagoe (1992), Alexandria, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Yalafemo of senior Odadaa! member Emmanuel Tettey Addy, 2000, Troy, N.Y. Burial Funeral and Yalafemo of Odadaa! member Samuel Neequaye Kotey, Capital Region, N.Y.