Two jazz musicians honored with Doris Duke Artist Award

Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah ​​is one of the award-winning artists.

They are Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah ​​and Somi Kakoma.

A few days ago, the ceremony of the Doris Duke Artists Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York was held. Organized by rapper Common, it rewarded two jazz musicians, Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah ​​and Somi Kakoma, who were among the six nominated creators. The Doris Duke Foundation also announced the doubling of the prize money associated with the prize. Each recipient receives an award of $550,000, up from $275,000, in recognition of their contribution to the fields of contemporary dance, jazz and theater. Other Doris Duke performers this year are director Charlotte Brathwaite and playwright and performer Kristina Wong in the theater category, and choreographers and performers Ayodele Casel and Rosy Simas in the dance category.

Chef Xian aTunde Adjuah, 39, is a trumpeter, composer and jazz producer. It has already received six Grammy nominations since 2008 – three for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, two for Best Improvised Jazz Solo and one for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. In a press release, he expressed his happiness to have been rewarded.

“Receiving the Doris Duke Artist Award gives me the opportunity to devote more time and care to what I truly love, which in itself is the most precious gift a person can receive. Not only is this extremely meaningful to me, but it also positions me to create new opportunities in my community. Growing up, I often heard Elders use the phrase ‘Take my song and pass it on’, and I look forward to embody this spirit by passing on this gift to others.”

Somi Kakoma, 41, is a singer, songwriter, playwright and actor. In July 2020, she released “Holy Room – Live at Alte Oper” on her own label Salon Africana. The live album, which featured the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, was nominated for a 2021 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. She also won the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Vocal Jazz Album.

“As a proud daughter of immigrants, I’ve never fully adapted to a ‘here’ or a ‘there’ – neither has my music”. Receiving this award is an affirmation that this trip was not in vain. Knowing that it was determined by my peers is particularly meaningful – I feel seen, understood, supported and therefore very grateful. This prize will allow me to pursue or further formalize my artistic projects on the African continent in spaces where the local cultural economy does not always have the resources in place to support them.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.