Artist : Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng
Genre : Drummer
Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng, one of the master drummers of his generation, brings the spirit, culture and music of West Africa to the world. Using traditional African rhythm patterns and techniques, he creates compelling original compositions. A Royal Court Drummer at age seventeen, KKO gained a far-reaching knowledge of the rich and varied music of and dance traditions of West Africa.
He later toured the world as a cultural emissary with Ghana's National Arts Council Folkloric Company and was further influenced in the United States by masters of jazz, funk and reggae. KKO's interpretations of these myriad forms make the drums sing not just with rhythms but also with surprising melodies and counterpoints. His virtuosity in plaing is marked by lightning speed and an effortless power. KKO's music bridges cultures and creates connections.
KKO's solo performance combines an intimate palette of tones coaxed from hand drums with astounding rhythms. Bells, hand and stick drums, shakers, rattles and a vibrant voice are all tools joyfully on display as he leads the audience through evocative visions and encounters. His delight in performance is infectious; audience members often find themselves up and dancing before they realize it.
KKO & Band
KKO's various ensembles feature stellar musicians from the worlds of jazz, rock and Highlife--one of Ghana's most popular and enduring styles. KKO's journey with full backing goes deep into reggae and funk rhythms with an acoustic ensemble which includes various combinations of horns, percussion and vocals augmented at times with electric band instruments. Each incarnation of KKO's original music for ensemble combines mind-boggling textures with feet-pleasing polyrhythms for a fresh, exciting and joyous audience experience.
KKO has taught West African drumming and dance internationally to beginners, amateurs and professionals and currently teaches at Brown University, The Greater Hartford Academy for the Arts's Learning Corridor, and in New York City. Classes in New York City are at the Jazz Gallery from 6PM to 8PM and cost $15. KKO is available for workshops, residencies and master classes to those with all levels of experience. Contact KKO via email or phone (212-561-1831) for more information.