Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Obo Addy Legacy Project Collection, 1970-2013

Biographical Note:

Born January 15, 1936 in Accra, the capital of Ghana, Obo Addy was one of 55 children of Jacob Kpani Addy, a medicine man who integrated rhythmic music into healing and other rituals. Obo Addy was designated by his tribe as a master drummer by the age of six. After he had become Ga Master, the National Arts Council of Ghana hired Addy in 1969, and he received his first international exposure at the Munich Summer Olympics in 1972. After moving away from performing Western musical 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. He then moved to London and spent six years touring internationally until 1978, when he moved to Portland. There he met and married his wife Susan, who began managing his musical career and his musical groups Kukrudu and later the more traditional Okropong.

In 1996, Obo Addy 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 the United States. Addy is the first African born artist to ever receive the award. Beginning in 1986, Obo Addy and his wife Susan formed the Homowo African Arts and Cultures organization, a virtual cultural center with offerings in schools, parks, community centers, and performance venues all over the country. Obo Addy passed away on September 13, 2012 leaving this rich legacy that will be carried on by the current organization, the Obo Addy Legacy Project. The Obo Addy Legacy Project continues Homowo’s valuable work of adding to the quality of life, the diversity, and the creativity of the Northwest.

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