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Meet Okaidja Afroso

Meet Okaidja Afroso! Get to know him and his ensemble, as well as Ghanaian culture in their videos and interview below. Okaidja will spend a week in various Midwest communities offering educational workshops, engaging with communities, and performing in concerts. Take a look below, or see him in person in a community near you.


Photo by Paapa Kwaku Oduro.

Okaidja Afroso follows his family’s tradition of storytelling by creating genre-defying music that calls back to his upbringing in a village on the western coast of Ghana. His music speaks to a spectrum of experiences deeply connected to the traditions of the African diaspora. He is devoted to bringing together diverse modes of expression in pursuit of global harmony through his signature performances that blend percussion and dance.

Watch Videos

Get to know Okaidja Afroso and his ensemble better by getting a peek into their daily life—from cooking traditional Ghanaian foods to learning their artistic backgrounds.

Meet the Artists

Meet the musicians that make up Okaidja Afroso’s ensemble. Learn more about their musical backgrounds and how they’ve come to perform Ghanaian music and dance.



Cook Fufu & Soup

Join Okaidja Afroso Ensemble member Janet Quaye as she joins other women from her village in Ghana to make traditional fufu and palm nut soup. From the vibrant Agbogbloshie Market to their home in the village, follow along as Janet and the women walk through the steps to prepare these dishes.



Music & Community

Travel to the small fishing town of Kokrobite, Ghana, west of capital city Accra, to hear Okaidja and the Gadangme fisherman share their musical tradition, Kolomashie. The music you’ll hear was created by fisherman to drive away colonial masters, and today, they continue to share these songs to represent joy and unity within their community. When the chief of the fisherman calls, people come together to sing, clap, and play buckets and cow bells alongside the fisherman.



Hear from Okaidja

Ahead of his upcoming tours, Okaidja answered some questions about his hopes for his upcoming residencies—read more below.

How do you describe the music you make to someone who has never heard Ghanaian music?
Ghana is known for the Highlife music style, which incorporates polyrhythmic styles from various parts of West Africa, with Jazz and Blues. My work, however, is a mixture of Ghanaian traditional music and dance, with influences from the African diaspora.

What’s one question you’ve always wanted to be asked about your music?
How do you get the inspiration to write your music and create the onstage performances, as well as educational outreach to engage the communities you visit?

What do you hope World Fest communities learn from you?
I hope the World Fest communities are able to learn about Ghanaian music and culture.

What do you hope to learn from the World Fest communities?
In my 23 years in America, I feel like I still have a long way to go in terms of learning about the unique cultures of different parts of the country. I hope to learn more about the Midwest through the World Fest communities.

What are you most excited for on this tour?
I am very excited for the opportunity to share my culture with the World Fest community.

See Okaidja Afroso live!

October 2 – 8, 2022: Virginia, Minnesota
Presented by Lyric Center for the Arts

October 9 – 15, 2022: Minot, North Dakota
Presented by Minot Area Council of the Arts

October 16 – 22, 2022: Custer, South Dakota and Hot Springs, South Dakota
Presented by Custer Area Arts Council and Chautauqua Craftsmen & Artisans of the Black Hills

April 9 – 15, 2023: Portsmouth, Ohio
Presented by Vern Riffe Center for the Arts

April 16 – 22, 2023: Sullivan, Indiana
Presented by City of Sullivan

April 23 – 29, 2023: Albion, Michigan
Presented by Bohm Theatre

 


About World Fest

Since 2003, Arts Midwest World Fest has brought musicians from around the world to communities in the Midwest. Over the course of a week, musicians and communities connect through hands-on workshops, demonstrations, and performances to foster an understanding of and appreciation for global uniqueness and differences.  

World Fest community partners for the 2022-2025 cycle include: 

Community State Partner
Freeport Illinois Freeport Art Museum
Sullivan Indiana City of Sullivan
Oskaloosa Iowa George Daily Auditorium
Albion Michigan Bohm Theatre
Virginia Minnesota Lyric Center for the Arts
Minot North Dakota Minot Area Council of the Arts
Portsmouth Ohio Vern Riffe Center for the Arts
Custer + Hot Springs South Dakota Custer Area Arts Council + Chautauqua Artisans Market
Marinette Wisconsin Rusty Wolfe Studio

For more information on World Fest, including Okaidja’s tour, as well as supplementary educational materials and activity guides, visit www.artsmidwest.org/worldfest.