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Music from Ghana comes to Sandy

The well-traveled and respected teacher/musician Obo Addy performs at Meinig
by: contributed photo Using authentic instruments from his native country, the well-traveled Obo Addy demonstrates his
creative expertise.

The years of experience will be evident when Obo Addy begins to play any of the instruments he has played for nearly six decades.

Addy is a 75-year-old percussionist who, with his ensemble Okropong, will fill Meinig Park from the Main Stage with authentic rhythms and dancing using instruments from Ghana, his native country.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, Addy will entertain with sounds such that the trees have never heard.

Addy's wife of 30 years, Susan, has good reason to describe her husband as 'a consummate performer but also a great teacher.'

While touring the world and becoming one of the founders of Worldbeat music, Addy has taught at Lewis and Clark College for more than 20 years - training more than 30 Ghanaian musicians here in the United States and nearly 40 jazz musicians.

His expertise extends far beyond his signature instruments, the Ghanaian drums and the gyil (African xylophone). Addy teaches Ghanaian drumming, but also can teach singing.  He has written a symphony and can arrange for orchestras, jazz bands and traditional music.

Susan Addy says there are no limits to his capabilities.

'He is now working on a new composition for three pianos,' she said. 'Obo continues to break new ground in ways that are remarkable.'

At Meinig Park next Wednesday, Addy and Okropong, which means 'eagle' in Addy's native Ga language, will perform traditional dance and music chosen from the various ethnic cultures in Ghana, including Ga, Ewe, Ashanti, Dagomba and Dagarti.

Using a variety of hand and stick drums, talking drums, bells and shakers, the musicians build layers of driving rhythms while the dancers - clad in colorful West African garments - engage in an energetic physical 'conversation' with the drummers.

All to make the Sandy Summer Sounds concert an entertaining evening under the old trees.

The show is free and family friendly. Park visitors can bring blankets or stadium chairs for comfort. 

The parking lot on Meinig Avenue is likely to still be under construction, so extra time for parking is advised.

In case of rain, the show will move to the Sandy Community Center, 38348 Pioneer Blvd.

Sandy Summer Sounds is made possible through a partnership between the city of Sandy and donations from community sponsors.

For more information, call 503-668-2827.