“This disc convinces me that the greatest African dance band on the planet this year hails from Chicago.”  Norman Weinstein, The BEAT

“The Occidental Brothers Dance Band International has, with help from a series of Ghanaian and Congolese singers, turned halls all over town (and well outside it) into joyous African dance parties. But the ensemble got its start playing instrumentals, and alto saxophonist Greg Ward and guitarist Nathaniel Braddock have jazz chops to spare.”  Bill Meyer, Chicago Reader

“One of ten must-sees at the Pitchfork festival: a blend of Chicago and West Africa, with the dancefloor as common ground.”  Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

“You could easily believe the tracks on this very sharp cd were recorded in Kinshasa or Accra years ago rather than quite recently in Chicago…OBDBI offer up simply stunning instrumentals recalling the golden ages of rumba, highlife and other African styles”  T. Orr, World Music Central

“Sweet. A-”  Robert Christgau’s Consumers’ Guide

“On Odo Sanbra, Occidental Brothers Dance Band International earn a place alongside their highlife forebears by doing their own thing with the music and emerging with a sound that pays tribute to the past while moving the form forward… If highlife is going to get the revival it deserves, it could scarcely ask for better ambassadors.”  Joe Tangari, Pitchfork

“A feeling of confidence prevails as well as a sense that this mixed bag of Americans and Africans have found a music that feels like home. Odo Sanbra restores the colour and heft to the nearly forgotten party music of another continent.”  Richard Henderson, The Wire


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.


Booking Inquiries     ob@occidentalbrothers.com

Other Inquiries          info@occidentalbrothers.com


For videos, photos, and audio, click on the links above or select from below:

OBDBI Photo Gallery

OBDBI Video Gallery
Watch a Collection of Live Footage on YouTube