Can American-born musicians learn to play your music? Obo Addy

Obo Addy
Photo courtesy Susan Addy

Ghanaian-born master drummer, teacher and composer
Based in Portland OR

Ghanaian music takes a long time to learn. Americans can learn to play this music, but only if they have a very good teacher and if they are willing to take the time to do it.

There are some people who just learn a couple of phrases from somebody and then start telling people that they are playing Ghanaian music. But if they don’t learn the history of this music and if they don’t learn how to play it properly, it sounds like they don’t know what they’re doing. There are even Ghanaians who are claiming they know this music who have not studied it properly.

American audiences can’t always hear the difference because they tend not to take the time to learn about any kind of traditional music.