Yacub Addy Wins NEA National Heritage Fellowship

Congratulations go out to the tireless Yacub Addy – Ghanaian drum master, leader of the performance group Odadaa! and music teacher at Skidmore College – who has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Addy is one of only eight recipients of the honor. The others are fiddler “Texas Shorty” Chancellor, palm leaf weaver Gladys Kukana Grace, basketweaver Mary Jackson, bluegrass guitarist-singer Del McCoury, Indian dancer Kamala Lakshmi Narayanan, Irish flutist Mike Rafferty and Afro-Cuban drum builder and drummer Ezequiel Torres.

The 79-year-old Addy has made his home in the Capital Region for more than a decade and a half. The master drummer has collaborated with a wide variety of musicians over the years, from T.K. Blue to Stefon Harris. He is perhaps best known for “Congo Square,” a concert-length collaboration with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, which had its premiere in New Orleans in 2006.

The National Heritage Fellowships have been awarded since 1982, and this year’s recipients were by a 10-member panel, who reviewed more than 200 nominations. Each recipient will receive an award of $25,000.

The 2010 awardees will come to Washington, DC in September for a series of events in their honor, including an awards presentation and banquet at the Library of Congress, as well as a concert at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland.

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