Okaidja Afroso with Jacob Jonas The Company
Multi-instrumentalist and singer Okaidja Afroso brings his impassioned and heartfelt compositions to life in a new collaboration with the fast-rising dance ensemble Jacob Jonas The Company. Led by its titular choreographer, The Company creates athletic and poetic works that examine nature and reality and the shared experience of humanity. For their piece “Crash”, Afroso has composed new music and performs live alongside the dancers in a work that was inspired by still images of whitewater formations taken from the Santa Monica Pier. The piece saw its premiere at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where Jacob Jonas The Company is the Resident Company for 2018-19.
Born into a family of musicians and storytellers in the village of Kokrobite on the west coast of Ghana, Okaidja Afroso is a singer, guitarist, percussionist, and dancer deeply connected to the musical traditions of the African Diaspora and devoted to bringing together diverse modes of expression in pursuit of global harmony. He has toured across the United States as a solo musician and with his ensemble Shokoto, and has led educational outreach programs at Sun Valley Center for the Arts, the Cordova Museum, and others.
Named one of “12 standout companies of 2018” by Los Angeles Times and “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, Jacob Jonas The Company has toured North America since 2014 with its mix of contemporary ballet, breakdance and acrobatic movement. The company is the 2018/19 Company in Residence at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and has been presented in venues including The Kennedy Center for the 2017 Arts Summit in Washington DC, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York City, Ford Theater presented by The Music Center in Los Angeles, Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe and Maui Arts and Cultural Center.
“One of the undeniable highlights of the evening was the live music performed by Okaidja Afroso. His voice, guitar, and percussion instruments blended into a landscape that was transcendent. The power of a single resonant human voice and the rhythms of the human bodies moving as one augmented the intimacy of the work, making a piece about the ocean become more a journey of the human spirit."
Beth Megill, LA Dance Review
Watch a video of Okaidja and Jacob Jonas The Company’s latest collaboration “Crash”:
Choreography: Jacob Jonas
Original Score and Live Performance: Okaidja Afroso
Lighting Design: William Adashek
Scientific Consultant: David Tytler
Costume: Tessa Matthias