Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Jukebox; Black King Edition

This is the soundtrack for today's jukebox, which is really more of a story-box today;
The man in the center of the dance above is Obo Addy. He died yesterday from liver cancer, a cancer that was perhaps the only thing that the big man from Ghana couldn't beat.

Because the man could solid fucking drum.

I first ran into Addy at the old Civic Stadium back in 2003, during one of the two Women's World Cup matches played in Portland that year.

One of the four teams that played that evening was the "Black Queens" of Ghana. And - let's be no less than honest in respect of the man's passage; there is no reason for mendacity at the edge of the grave, now, is there? - the gals from the Gold Coast were really dire.


Down in California, where they'd played their first two matches, they'd given up three goals to the Russian team and had lost 1-nil to a China that was a tired shade of the fearsome Steel Roses of the Nineties. They were gone, done, finished. They had only one match left to play, a meaningless fixture with an Australia that was as sorry and as homeward-bound as they were.

But here in Portland they played with a difference, and that difference was Obo Addy.
Addy and his drumline perched in the old Shed End seats pounding out a driving West African rhythm, a gaudy and fearsome thunder, their music pounding out across the velvet Northwest evening like a Ghanaian warhammer.

And the Queens stunned the hapless Matildas, winning their first - and to this day, only - World Cup match.
In the terraces above the goal the thundering drums of Addy and his friends beat out the suddenly racing pulse of the journeyer who, in the distant land he now calls home, happens upon a happy reminder of the land of his birth.

I walked home smiling, to the fading rumble of those distant drums.
So, goodbye, Obo Addy. I'm glad I shared that moment with you.

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