The Occidental Brothers’ blend of high-energy soukous, rootsy Ghananian Highlife and African Jazz conjures the sound of the golden age of the African guitar band and has made them favorites of music critics and audiences as diverse as the members of this multi-ethnic band.   Founded in Chicago by American-born musicians, the group has included former members of Ghanaian superstars the Western Diamonds, TPOK Jazz, Zambian roots musician Mathew Tembo, and Congolese legend Samba Mapangala.

With the return of OBDBI leader Nathaniel Braddock from several years living in Sydney, Australia, the group reunited in 2016 and celebrates the return of their original singer and trumpeter, Ghanaian Kofi Cromwell.  The group is planning two new albums of music in the coming year featuring tracks recorded with Cromwell and with Samba Mapangala, and  they have begun work on a major collaboration of the new dance with Brooklyn-based choreographer Edisa Weeks to debut later in the year.

Braddock was a faculty member at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music for ten years and is a veteran of Chicago’s indie rock scene.  Now living in Cambridge, Mass, he also leads Trio Mokili and Air Congo and  released a solo guitar record in 2017.  He co-founded the group with alto saxophonist Greg Ward, now a highly sought jazz musician who released his “Touch My Beloved’s Thought” (Greenleaf) to critical acclaim in 2016.  Drumming duties are shared by Ghanaian Asamoah Rambo and Makaya McCraven, who during the OBDBI hiatus released “In The Moment”(International Anthem) which topped many critics’ Best Of lists for 2015.  Bass duties are handled by Chicago’s beloved Joshua Ramos.

The Occidental Brothers have energized festival stages in Europe and North Amerca, including Poland’s Made In Chicago 2017, Chicago World Music Festival 2016, Chicago Jazz Fest 2011, Nijmegen Music Meeting NL 2010, Moers Fest DE 2010, Ottawa Bluesfest 2010, Toronto AfroFest 2010, GlobalFest 2009, the Montreal and Vancouver Jazz Festivals 2009, amd Pitchfork 2008.  Other performances include Chicago’s Millennium Park, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center, the Cedar Cultural Festival, and many arts centers and clubs.

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