Hello! From the other side of a long, busy summer. So many great memories and new friends--thank you for coming out, everyone! We were pleased to play many festivals, including SummerFest in Milwaukee, and the Vancouver and Montreal Jazz Festivals. It was great to celbrate Jon Kertzer's 25 years of KEXP's The Best Ambiance with two shows in Seattle with King Sunny Ade, Nathaniel was pleased to join Congolese Samba Mapangala on stage at Lincoln Center after the OBDBI set.

We've got several shows in the midwest this September, including a free show in Washington Park on Chicago's South Side, so be sure to check our list of Upcoming Gigs.

Attention cable subcribers! The band shot an hour long tv special live from Red Kiva that will air this fall on the Africa Channel. We'll let you know when its air time is scheduled...

Please check back next month for our redesigned website! You'll be able to buy cds and tshirts directly from us!


Friends! Many great new reviews of our new record have been popping up in recent weeks, including a new one from the "Dean of American Rock Critics", Robert Christgau. Odo Sanbra receives an "A-" rating...

: Click here to read Christgau's review

The cd is available through Thrill Jockey Records

: Click here to purchase both of the Occidental Brothers records on cd or to download


Thank you to all our fans that came out to our record release show at the Empty Bottle last week and who made it such a great party!

We also are glad a special show that we've kept hushed up until now... We're playing at the Charleston this coming Saturday! Starting at 10, playing until 1, just like the old days.


The band is excited for our record release show at the Empty Bottle next week--hope you can join us! The new record Odo Sanbra is getting great reviews and we've been busy with interviews and making new friends around the country as the cd starts to circulate. The official release date is April 21, but you can get it at our show or online through Thrill Jockey Records. Link to follow soon...

In more serious news, we are grateful for the safe return of our saxophonist Greg Ward and friend Mike Reed and their bandmates Tim Haldeman and Jason Roebke. They were on tour this month in Eastern Europe and stumbled upon a Neo-Nazi ralley in the small town of Breclaw in the Czech Republic.

: Click here to read Mike's reflections upon the day's events.

We are gearing up for a major tour of North America this June and July with great dates in Montreal, New York City, Seattle, Vancouver, and many other great cities. We'll have those dates for you in the coming month, so please check back!

We're rebuilding the website! Check back soon for our new look and online ordering of tshirts and cd's!


Greetings, on the eve of Obama's inauguration!

We are just back from our first trip to the East Coast, and it was a great success! Thank you to all our new friends in Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Boston, Northampton, Portland and New York City! Highlights included a killer dance party at Space in Portland, a standing-room-only crowd at the Kennedy Center in DC, and of course the globalFEST night at Webster Hall in New York.

Here's what the press says:
"Magnificent" Carol Cooper VILLAGE VOICE
"The most musically expansive acts were often the most thrilling. The Chicago-based Occidental Brothers Dance Band International played a winning amalgam of Ghanaian highlife and rhythmically inventive post-rock." Jon Caramanica NEW YORK TIMES
"Audience members had to pull themselves from the enticing polyrhythmic sounds of the Occidental Brothers Dance Band" Jim Fusilli WALL STREET JOURNAL : Click here to watch OBDBI live on stage at the Kennedy Center



First of all, we're please to announce that we'll be playing globalFEST, the world music night of the the APAP festival in New York City. The night of the show is January 11th, and it's at Webster Hall. We'll be playing many dates on the East Coast around this date--please check back for those as we are in the process of finalizing the details! Click here for the globalFEST Press Release Click here for the Webster Hall site

Next, as many of you are aware Occidental Brothers Nathaniel Braddock (guitar) and Greg Ward (saxophone) went into the studio with Congolese legend Samba Mapangala and his band. Many Africans have an affection for President Elect Barack Obama, and Samba had a unique interest having spent twenty years living the in the Kenyan city of Nairobi. The combined forces recorded a praise song "Obama Ubarikiwe" at a time when we were all hopefully awaiting the results of the election. Joy of joys, we have a new president to look forward to! Occidental's Braddock played guitar and produced the recording, and several remixes and a video are floating around the internet. : Click here to download Obama Ubarikiwe : Click here for Samba's MySpace Page and to hear alternate mixes Our friends at KEXP in Seattle have posted several videos from our in studio session with them filmed as part of the Pitchfork Festival. The videos are available on YouTube, and we offer them here, too. That's Marcus Evans on drums for this session!


Our busy summer continues

First a couple items of note in the press. We've done a number of video and audio interview for blogs and podcasts recently where we talk a lot about what we do and why. Here are some links to a couple of the really good ones... : Crain's Chicago Business Videocast--look for 7/18 : TimeOut Chicago's "Infinite Loop" Interview and acoustic performance : The Art Institute of Chicago's Musecast featuring OBDBI : KEXP Seattle's Interview and Webcast of the OBDBI

We're pleased to announce that we are now working with the Red Ryder Booking Agency. Red Ryder will be our exclusive North American booking agent. They currently represent such great acts as Andrew Bird, the Magnetic Fields, and Ralph's World. : Click here to learn more about Red Ryder

Furthermore! We have a couple great shows this week, including SummerDance on Thursday and the Art Institute of Chicago on Saturday afternoon. We're about to announce two exciting shows in September, so check back in soon!


Podcasts, Ahoy!

We have three podcast appearances coming up in the next month. All podcasts are available through iTunes or other serving platforms.

KEXP, the great independent radio station out of Seattle is podcasting our new song "Circle! Circle! Circle!" tomorrow, Tuesday 08JULY08 on their "Song of the Day" podcast. Also, we'll be doing a live broadcast on KEXP on Friday July 18th, too, as part of the Pitchfork Festival. The broadcast is from Chicago's own Engine Studio, and is open to the public--just RSVP!

: Click here to subscribe to KEXP's song of the day using iTunes

: Click here to subscribe using a different platform

: Click here to reserve your spot at Engine Studio to see the Occidental Brothers play live on Friday 7/18, on air in one of the best-sounding rooms in the city.

Time OutThis Friday the band will play a live, stripped-down set at the offices of TimeOut Chicago for their new podcast. We follow in the footsteps of Alla and many other great bands. We're not sure of the date when it'll be shot out, but sign up now to check us out, and a bunch of other great groups.

: Click here to learn more about Time Out's podcast

The Art Institute of Chicago has a podcast, and we're a featured artist in their next episode. The band is playing at Fullerton Hall (right by the print gallery) on August 16th. The concert is free with admission to the museum, and is at 1:00p.

: Click here to check out the Art Institute of Chicago MuseCast

OBDBI NEWS 27JUNE2008: Best in Chicago!!!

This just in... we're delighted to be named the Best World Music Band by culture mavens Chicago Reader. Thanks to writer Peter Margasak for the thoughtful write up.

: Click here for the Reader's "Best World Music Group" write up

Earlier this month we celebrated the release of the new record "Es Tiempo" from our friends Alla. The record is great, and they're working with the fantastic Crammed label out of Belgium. O'Bro's Kofi Cromwell, Nathaniel Braddock, and Greg Ward joined them on stage at the party, and you can check it out on this video.


Hello, Friends! Exciting events this past week: we were contacted Thursday night by the Mayor's Office of Special Events to participate in a ralley the following day in Daley Plaza. The occasion: Chicago's Olympic host-city dreams.

We were able to get the group together in time, and were delighted to share the stage with Mayor Richard Daley and with Illinois Senator, Barack Obama.

Check out our gigs page for lots of shows this summer.


Friends! So much good new stuff. The band went into the studio in April and finished a new record, tentatively called "Odo Sanbra (Come back, Love)". Dangerously hot! It's got some of your favorites and some new ones that we haven't played live. We worked with engineer Manny Sanchez of IV Lab Studio, and can recommend him highly to anyone looking to do some recording in Chicago. We got the master back in early May, and will keep you posted on a release date.

This weekend we've got two shows: a trio date at the Art Institute on Friday May 30, and a festival slot at the Do-Division Festival (that's at the corner of Division and Damen) on Saturday May 31. Rambo is out of town playing in NYC with Ghanaian legend and OBDBI friend Smart Nkarsah from London, so Marcus Evans is filling in on the traps. You may know Marcus from his work with David Boykin and Nikki Mitchell in Chicago, or with alt-HipHop star Prefuse 73.

We've got a handful of goodies coming up in June and July, most of which are up on our "Gigs" page. We hope to see you out at some of them. We're also doing a special studio session on June 18th with a live audience. The concert will be recorded in both audio and video and will feature many of the classic, old African tunes that we cover but which are not on the new record. If you'd like to come, drop us a note. This is an invitation-only event because of limited space, but we want to make sure our fans can come. Drop us an e.mail if you'd like to reserve a spot.


ITEM!!! This just in: your Occidental Brothers Dance Band Int'l is featured on the Afropop Worldwide homepage. This week's broadcast takes "Africa in America" as it's topic, and includes profiles of OBDBI, and many other great bands including our friends Extra Golden, Antibalas, and Afrodesia. Tune in this weekend to your local public radio station to hear what's happening on the homefront. In Chicago, that means our friends at WBEZ, 91.5fm, at 11pm this Friday.

: Afropop Worldwide homepage

: Chicago Public Radio

ITEM!!! At last we can announce this one... the band will be playing the PITCHFORK Festival this summer along side the cream of the contemporary independent music scene and honored elders. Including, but not limited to, Animal Collective, !!!, Dinosaur Jr., Extra Golden, Vampire Weekend, M. Ward, Spiritualized, and Public Enemy recreating their classic "It Takes A Nation of Millions" album.

: Pitchfork Media


We're pleased to announce that we'll be sharing the Park West stage with our friends Funkadesi. They're celebrating the release of their long anticipated next cd, and we're pleased to be part of the party. The Occidental Brothers will be heading into the studio this April, with a new record available this summer. Stay tuned...

New press photos are up on our photos page, shot by Chicago's Jim Newberry.

A handful of summer shows are going to be announced soon including some big ones in July and August! Check back soon to lock in your dates.



First posting of 2008--and why so late? Occidental Brothers Nathaniel Braddock and Doug Brush left for Ghana on New Years Day! Nathaniel has just arrived back after a month of absorbing sun and good music, and Doug has stayed in the capital Accra where he'll be staying for a couple of months. They were visiting the family of OBDBI drummer Asamoah Rambo, and working with the incredible guitarist Anthony Akablay. Aka played with Kofi and Rambo in the highlife band Western Diamonds that ruled the Ghanaian music scene in the 1990's. These days Aka is the most in-demand guitarist in Accra, doing multiple studio sessions on any given day. The guys recorded a couple songs in the old Palm Wine style, one of which is available exclusively on our myspace page. Here's a photo of Nathaniel and Aka on Nathaniel's last day.

: Akablay's new MySpace Page

: OBDBI MySpace Page


Hey, please check our myspace page for a couple of updates, including a track from last SummerDance concert, and a special holiday greeting--and a highlife rendering of a wellknown Christmas tune.

: OBDBI MySpace Page


Hello, friends! Thanks for all your support in 2007, and our apologies for not posting to our news page in several months. We had a busy summer playing lots of festival and club gigs in Chicago, with highlights being Chicago's SummerDance series in July, and Millennium Park in August. We also headed on the road a couple of times, and with the coming of autumn is was time for a break.

We're back, though, and have our first club gig since the summer. We'll be at Martyrs' on Friday December 14th, and have a couple other smaller gigs at the end of the month. A couple of us will be in Ghana in January, so look for more activity in February. We'll also be heading into the studio then to cut that long-awaited new album.

Hope to see you on the 14th!



The band has found a friend in WXRT's Richard Milne. Richard has played our music before, and will be featuring us this Tuesday (6/19) at 8:45pm and next Thursday (6/21) at 10:45pm. Richard is a great supporter of music and musicians in the city, and we're glad to have hooked up with him!


Still lots of shows this summer, though one change. Some scheduling confusion with the park district landed us dazed and on stage this past Tuesday at Welles Park--so scratch our appearance there on July 10th.

And in personal news, we're pleased to celebrate our singer Kofi Cromwell's son, James Kwamina Cromwell! Baby Kwamina had his naming ceremonty and Outdooring this past weekend. So best wishes to him as he commences his journey, and congratulations to Kofi and Eunice, his parents.


Thanks to all of you who've been coming out to all our recent shows--we've had great, enthusiastic audiences and a sold-out show at the Old Town School of Folk Music! Burning. We'll get some video highlights of that up for you soon. In the meantime you can cruise out to the OTSFM site to check out a couple of songs.


A special holler to CC Smith and Barry Eisenberg The Beat magazine--some of our new best friends! CC picked up our record at the Amoeba in LA, and was amazed at our reverant covers of the old classic African tunes. She featured us on her radio show, playing our tunes back-to-back with the originals. She's also turned all the African music writers and affiondos to what we're doing, and we're making lots of new friends. Things are getting exciting...

: The Beat

Lots of new shows listed so follow our gigs link for the details. Many are outdoor festivals, so a great opportunity to bring les petits. We're particularly excited about the SummerDance gig in July. Also, were working on a night at the Empty Bottle with the great band the Watchers. Check back soon for more exciting developments!


Welcome to new friends who met us for the first time at our recent MARTYRS' show with Ulele, and friends who just met us at our 2/24 gig at the CHARLESTON! It's incredible how those Charelston sets keep getting more fun and more wild--what next?! Please--no one tell the fire department about how many people are packing in, or we'll get shut down! We're not sure the next time we'll be back there, so check back here or on our "gigs" page for updates. We won't be there on last Saturdays in March or April because of other gigs. We'll try to be there a different Saturday, though...

In the meantime, we have two other great shows to announce. First, we're the featured artist on Mar 28 at the OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLK MUSIC's Afrofolk series. This is free and all-ages, but the event is ticketed because so many people come. What this means to you is that you should call ahead and reserve tickets at 773.728.6000. If you can't get tickets, come out anyway--you're sure to get in, but try to reserve tickets. The show will have two sets, and starts at 8.30p sharp! This is one of the best sounding rooms in the midwest, and the vibe at the OTSFM is excellent, so try to come out.

: OTSFM Concert Schedule

We also have a show in late April in Chicago at SCHUBA's! We had such a good time in January that we've been anxious to schedule another show there. Mark 28APRIL in your datebook, and we'll see you then. Stay tuned for support acts.

: Schuba's website

And now on to the really exciting news... THRILL JOCKEY has picked up distribution rights on our self-released record from December 2006. Nathaniel has worked with Thrill Jockey in his other band the ZINCS, so we know we're in great hands. You're still welcome to order one from us, but it can be quicker to go through them. Plus they offer a hip indie-oriented download service. You'll still need to talk to us to get one of those tshirts, though!

: Thrill Jockey's webpage


First post of the new year... woohoo!

Welcome, new friends who heard us recently on Chicago Public Radio's program 848! For those of you who didn't catch it, they have a new series called UNDERCOVER, wherein they bring Chicago bands to their studio to work out a cover tune. Our version of New Order's classic Bizarre Love Triangle has become a huge favorite with people that caught the spot or have seen it live, and we're receiving requests for a recording daily! We don't have a version available for you yet, but you can slide over to their website and enjoy it online anytime you please. Also you'll want to clock the Zinc's version of Echo and the Bunnymen's Silver which features OBDBI guitarist Nathaniel Braddock, and Las Guitarras de Espana's version of the Roberta Flack tune Killing Me Softly With His Song which features our drummer Doug brush on cajón.


: Our version of Bizarre Love Triange

: Chicago Public Radio's Homepage

Welcome also to new friends who saw us for the first time at SCHUBA'S last week. A fun show! They're excited to have us back, and we're hoping to work something out for March, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we've added two shows in February at MARTYRS' with Ulele on the 17th, and we return to last Satrudays at the CHARLESTON on the 24th.

CD's are available, but moving fast at the following Chicago Locations: Reckless Records (both locations), the Jazz Record Mart, Laurie's Planet of Sound, and the Different Strummer.


Welcome to all our new friends who first heard us at Chicago's Logan Square Auditorium with Andrew Bird. It was tons of fun, and we're please to make so many new friends. Special thanks to Andrew and his crew for opportunity and all the support. Don't forget to check us out on MySpace, if you do that kind of thing...

: OBDBI MySpace Page

Item: new cd's and tshirts are available! Recorded with engineer Kris Poulin earlier this year at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio Studio, and recently mastered by Jeremy Lemos--we're thrilled. A special shout out to Fred at CDForge for helping us get them back in time for those shows at the end of last month. We highly recommend them for your cd production needs! Also huge thanks to Andrew Rench for all his design work. He designed the cd, tshirts, and this website. Andy played with OBDBI guitarist Nathaniel in the Ancient Greeks. He's been a great friend, and a great designer.

: CD Forge

: Contact our designer Andrew Rench

: drop us an e.mail if you'd like to order one!

CD's are available at some Chicago store or through us here at the website. Ask for it at the Different Strummer, Laurie's Planet of Sound, and Reckless Records. Reckless will be featuring it in their Chicago store listening stations starting this week!

ITEM: Our next big show is on 22DEC at the HotHouse--one of the best rooms in Chicago. This is a cd release show, and it would be great to get a lot of people out to listen, and to fill that dance floor.

: Click here for the HotHouse Site

ITEM: The band went back into the studio last week to start work on a new record. We're going to piece this together over a couple of sessions, but we wanted to get in there and get some of the new stuff down--the new records will be almost all originals, including a handful with Kofi singing in Twi and in English. The session was fun--the Breeders were in the other studio, so we got to hang out with Kim and Kelly Deal a little bit. We'll keep you posted with that. We're talking to a couple of labels now, too--just looking for the right match.


Sorry not to have posted in so long--it's not for lack of news, but because we've been so incredibly busy with cool stuff!

We'll performing along the course of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon this Sunday morning, set up at around mile 14 at the corner of Ashland and Adams. Thanks for your notes everyone who saw us on WGN this week promoting it.

Check out TONS of very cool shows we have in November at the Logan Square Auditorium with our friend Andrew Bird, and a Dance Derby at the Hideout (I'm sure some OBDBI regulars could win the crown!). Check the "gigs" page for more info...

In other news, OBDBI guitarist is premiering a new work for modern dance on the last weekend of October with cellist Jason McDermott and Khecari Dance company at Link's Hall.

: Click here for ticket and venue info


The interview and in-studio concert we did with Tony Sarabia on WBEZ's world music program Passport in now up and streaming online!

: Click here to go to WBEZ's archive

In other exciting news, we're pleased to announce that we'll appear on September 17th at the Logan Square Auditorium as part of the Chicago World Music Festival with Kora master Mamadou Diabate and the great Zimbabwean guitarist Oliver Mtukudzi! There will be another WMF gig on Saturday--more details to follow...!


Thanks to everyone who has stopped by our site and joined our mailing list after hearing us with Tony Sarabia on WBEZ's Passport. Also, HELLO to new friends who first saw us last week at the Old Town School's Folk and Roots Festival. We had a great time playing back to back with the Chicago Afrobeat Project, and we of course came back to dig Kékélé and the Refugee Allstars of Siera Leone on Sunday!

The O'Bro's will be at the Charleston on the 22nd of July with a special guest on electric bass. Also, we're taking it out to the suburbs on July 29 and August 19 to play at Libertyville's Firkin. Kofi has rocked that house with some other bands, and we look forward to dancing the night away. Please note that our website had the date listed as the 28th--that was wrong! We'll be there on the 29th!

Lots of new shows added to the 'Gigs' section, so add those to your summer schedule now! We'll be playing the World Music Festival in September, too. We can share the details yet, but you're sure to be pleased by the great African bands that we'll be playing with!


The group stopped by the WBEZ studios on Monday and recorded a short set and interview with Passport host Tony Sarabia. It was a great time, and we appreciate the opportunity to visit the studios at Navy Pier--what a view! And a great sounding live room, too.

This will air on June 30 at 9pm. Check it out at 91.5FM, or listen live on the interline! I think that the set will be served in streaming format after the fact, too, and details on that will follow...

Lots of new shows added to the 'Gigs' secion, so add those to your summer schedule now!

: Click here to see the PASSPORT Schedule


Tonight's show at RODAN will start later--11pm


We had a great time with you last Saturday at the Charleston--thanks for coming out everybody. For those of you who didn't make it, you missed Kofi's brother Kudi sitting in on trombone and Nash of the Ghanaian band Dansika singing a couple. Where did Kofi and Kudi learn those dance moves?!?!

Our next show is this Thursday 25 May at R O D A N. This will be a quartet gig, so more dry guitar and palm wine styles than when we have horns. There'll also be a Toubab Roots Band show on Saturday 3 June at Heaven Gallery (1550 N. Milwaukee, 2nd). That group features Doug Brush on baliphone and mbira, Nathaniel Braddock on guitar and lyre, and George Lawler on percussion.

For those that do, please join us on MYSPACE.

: Click here to get there

Check out the photos page for a bunch of new photos taken by Michael Lenzi at the last HotHouse show.

: Click here to see more of Lenzi's Photos


We're playing this Saturday May 13th at the Charleston (2076 N. Hoyne)! Greg Ward won't be with us--he'll be in Paris with one of Ernest Dawkins' groups, but we'll have stunningly-talented Doug Brush helping out on percussion.

Doug will play baliphone, mbira and hand percussion with O.Bro's Nathaniel and George as the Toubab Roots Band for the first set. We play traditional West African tunes, and one or two North African and Zimbabwean pieces. Hope you can make it out!


A nice Critic's Choice written by Bill Meyer in this week's Chicago Reader. We've been fans of Bill's thoughtful writing for a while.

: Click here to go to the article


Two shows coming up in the next week! First, we'll play a quartet set at the Chicago Cultural Center this Friday April 21 at NOON. This show is free!

Also, next Wednesday the full group we'll be playing two sets at the HotHouse as part of their Jazz Without Borders series. NOTE: The start time is 8:00, not 9, as I previously posted. It'd be great to get a lot of people out to this one. It's a great room, and we love playing in it. Room for dancing...

More work on the website. Got some photos and some links up now!


Hey, all. Tony Sarabia will be playing "Komokosaka Te Na Basi" from our February recording on the WBEZ 91.5FM PASSPORT this Friday. Tony is taking over the program following the departure of Chris Heim from the station. Tony will be featuring more local artists and on-air performances. Sounds like a change for the better.

More work on the website--check out new pages. We'll have "Photos" and "Links" up soon, too, so check back!


What’s new? Well this website. Please be patient as we build it up, and check back for lots of goodies including photos, mp3’s, gig info, and more.

We had a great show last night at R O D A N in Chicago, our first since a recording in late January at Electrical Audio. Nathaniel has been on tour with the Zincs and Edith Frost, but he’s been busy scheduling good stuff for the Brothers in April and May. Stay tuned, and check the “ Gigs” link.