The Oregon Multicultural Archives is honored to add another Portland, OR cultural arts organization to its collections. On Friday, June 21st, Natalia Fernández and I travelled to Portland to pick up the Obo Addy Legacy Project Collection. This collection is made up of various forms of media (some quite challenging!), personal papers, photographs, and records of the Homowo African Arts & Cultures organization. The processing and arrangement of this collection will be my summer term 2013 internship project. This is the OMA’s second
major collection of cultural arts in Portland.
We are starting a trend here!
Obo Addy was truly a regional and national treasure. Born Jan. 15, 1936 in Accra, the capital of Ghana, Addy was one of 55 children of Jacob Kpani Addy, a medicine man who integrated rhythmic music into healing and other rituals. Addy was designated by his tribe as a master drummer by the age of six.
The Arts Council of Ghana as a Ga master hired Addy in 1969, and he received his first international exposure at the Munich Summer Olympics in 1972. He then moved to London and spent six years touring internationally until 1978, when he moved to Portland. There he met and married his wife Susan, who began managing his musical career.
Founded by Obo and Susan Addy in 1986, Homowo African Arts & Cultures originally existed as a virtual cultural center with offerings in schools, parks, community centers, and performance venues all over the country. Obo passed away on September 13, 2012 leaving this rich legacy that will be carried on by the Obo Addy Legacy Project.
This project will be challenging on many levels. The preservation of both audio and video media is crucial, the content will be very important to capture in archival formats. The professional grade tapes will require special transfer processing which will be a fantastic learning experience. This process is definitely not cheap, so there are also funding issues that can serve as “teaching moments”…oh joy!
The bulk of the collection involves records and promotional materials for the Homowo African Arts and Cultures organization and will require arrangement and description. Best practices of records management will come into play again, like the Miracle Theater records; there are ancient utility bills that can be purged.
Collection Pick Up and Transfer Photos:
The Obo Addy Legacy Project Collection will prove to be a fascinating and rewarding project over the next few months. There will be new learning experiences in dealing with the media, and the history of this interesting individual and his African music will be a pleasure to work with. I am honored to have the opportunity to arrange and describe this cultural resource for the OMA.
~ Mike Dicianna, Obo Addy Legacy Project Collection Intern