April 23, 2006 a historic new composition was premiered as part of the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans. It's performance by 16 American and 9 African musicians on a stage built in Congo Square was a gift to the Crescent City. It honored the importance of the Square as the center of New Orleans music and culture and it's importance to the totality of American music. It's first performance was intended by the creators as spiritual support for the recovery. It was a historic collaboration between Wynton Marsalis and the elder drummer from Ghana, Yacub Addy, which combined traditional Ghanaian percussion and vocals with jazz forms, including traditional New Orleans jazz. The 2+ hour piece is called simply, "Congo Square".
Yacub Addy is a very real and sincere elder with deep knowledge of traditional Ghanaian culture and it's connection to jazz forms. Many pieces are included in the music that truly broke ground - such as a hot combination of second line and the Ghanaian processional rhythm Kolomashi in the opener, "Ring Shout".
The New York based Jazz at Lincoln Center produced the exceptional project and it's New Orleans premiere, which was part of a week of artistic and educational residency activities by the project's artists in the City.
A page on Yacub Addy's web site is dedicated to the project. yacubaddy.com/wynton.html