Occidental Brothers Dance Band

January 28, 2010 10:07:50 AM PST
This year's Walter Payton College Prep's Humanities Festival will feature the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, Congolese music legend, Samba Mapangala and Chicago area band, Kids These Days. The benefit concert called "The G Concert: Raising 'G's for Ghana and Globalism" will be held at new The Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago on Sunday, January 31 at 6 p.m.The Occidental Brothers Dance Band International blends high-energy soukous, rootsy Ghananian Highlife and African Jazz; they conjure sounds of the golden age of the African guitar band. That has made them favorites of music critics and devotees of the style, but it's a sound that has seduced an audience of listeners as diverse as the members of this multi-racial band.

The group is led by guitarist Nathaniel Braddock, an instructor at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music and twice profiled in Guitar Player Magazine. Afropop Worldwide Senior Editor Banning Eyre exclaims of Braddock, "He's really got it." Braddock is joined by jazz phenomenon Greg Ward on alto, Joshua Ramos on bass and Makaya McCraven on drums. The Occidental Brothers Dance Band had a meteoric rise in 2009 after playing the Pitchfork Festival in 2008 and GlobalFest in January 2009.

Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot raves of Chicago's Occidental Brothers Dance Band: "One of ten must-sees at the Pitchfork festival: a blend of Chicago and West Africa, with the dance floor as common ground."

Selected by the Chicago Reader as the "Best World Music Group" in 2008, Occidental Brothers Dance Band was also featured on Chicago Public Radio and Tony Sarabia with Radio M exclaimed, "No band in Chicago can play West African dance music like the Occidental Brothers!"

Samba Mapangala is one of the legends of African Music, born in Kinshasa, he traveled with his group Les Kinois to Kampala, Uganda, and eventually to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi where he rebuilt the group as Virunga. Mapangala and Virunga were the Kings of the East African music scene. The band recorded countless songs, many included on the album "Virunga Volcano," recognized in "World Music: 100 Essential CDs" by Simon Broughton. He sings in the mellifluous, but rhythmically complex style of the Congolese singers, but blends sings in Swahili as much as Lingala.

Kids These Days is a Chicago-based band that draws on hip-hop, jazz and classic soul to create groove-oriented songs featuring bluesy vocals, instrumental improvisation and rap. The band's first single, "Hard Times" was produced by noted R&B session guitarist Greg Landfair, Sr. and is available at myspace.com/kidsthesedaysband. Formed by Chicago-area high school students, KTD includes Lane Beckstrom on bass, Liam Cunningham on guitar and vocals, Greg Landfair Jr. on drums, Nico Segal on trumpet, J.P. Floyd on trombone, Vic Mensah on rap vocals and Macie Stewart on background vocals. Kids These Days have performed at area clubs including Reggie's, Hideout, Subterranean and Beat Kitchen.

For tickets, priced at $20, call the Lincoln Hall box office at (773) 525-2501 or visit www.lincolnhallchicago.com .


Since its inception, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School has maintained a student body that is economically, geographically and racially diverse. The goal of the school is to nurture leaders in the school, the city, the state and beyond. To this end, Payton Prep. challenges students intellectually through a curriculum which consists solely of honors and advanced placement classes.

Intellectual inquiry and innovation are further stimulated by the weekly seminar program which covers topics that range from "The Zulu Language and Culture" to "Latin Dancing" and "Entrepreneurship" at Kendall College. Coursework is project-based and inter-disciplinary in all core subject areas. Video-conferencing opportunities are scheduled throughout the school year. College credit courses are available through partnerships with universities in the area. A unique combination of modified and block scheduling allows for deeper investigation and meaningful activities in all classrooms.