By Will Roper
Aug. 28, 2018

Ghana-born drummer and composer Paa Kow will bring his unique flavor of Afro-fusion dance music mixed with elements of jazz, funk and pop to the Zoo Bar on Wednesday night.

Paa Kow (Enyan Denkyira) will return with a band featuring Tom Ogunribido on bass, Jonnie Cohen on guitar, Solomon Goldbas on keys, Peyton Shuffield and Zane Cupec on percussion, Joel Michael Timm on trombone, Brad Goode on trumpet and Daryl Gott on alto sax. Their performance is slated to begin at 9:30 p.m. and last well into the night.

The group is currently on an eastbound tour across the Midwest, hitting up local bars and performance venues in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois before heading to New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

According to the group’s website, Paa Kow began his musical journey in Ghana, fashioning drums out of cans and other objects to entertain himself and other children in the absence of electricity. With his parents both being professional singers, Paa Kow was introduced to the family band by playing various percussion instruments. Soon after, he was known around the region as the “Small-boy Drummer,” as both his skills and fame began to grow exponentially.

At the age of 14, Paa Kow was already touring with regional concert bands and providing his expertise in percussion and rhythm. He would go on to play with some of the best musicians in Ghana and begin touring in countries like Nigeria, Switzerland and Egypt.

Paa Kow’s musical and compositional influences stem from his interactions with musicians from all parts of the world, particularly the U.S. Through performing and teaching in Colorado, he has cultivated his own brand of Afro-Fusion rhythm and melody, and has released three studio albums which demonstrate these broad ranges of influences and styles.

Over the years, Paa Kow’s influences have included Buddy Rich, Amakye Dede, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock and a vast variety of other famous musicians. He’s played side-by-side with many notable musicians as well, including Amakye Dede, George Darko, John Gunther and many others.

Paa Kow’s debut album, Hand Go Hand Come, was a breakout success in 2012. Embodying the Ghanaian proverb of, ‘the right hand washes the left and the left washes the right,’ Paa Kow and his orchestra created a two-sided celebration of African rhythm intertwined with American jazz. People noted the precision of the rhythm, power of the lyricism and creativity of different genres and sounds.

The group’s newest 2017 album, Cookpot, is front and center on the band’s current tour, and serves to continue the evolution of Paa Kow’s Afro-Fusion sound with new ideas and directions. He and his orchestra easily blend sounds and techniques of American jazz and funk with rhythmic motifs of Ghana and Africa, creating yet another unique album that stands tall as both a solid jazz album and incredible Afro-Fusion work.

Hear Paa Kow on KZUM programs like The Language of Music, airing Fridays, 8-10 a.m.

Will Roper is an editorial intern with KZUM.