IDRIS ACKAMOOR is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, actor, tap dancer, producer, administrator, and director. He is the Founder of the San Francisco performance company CULTURAL ODYSSEY and the Founder, Artistic Director of the legendary jazz and world music ensemble IDRIS ACKAMOOR & THE PYRAMIDS. Idris will be the project manager and collaborating artist for the proposed project offering “artistic practice and survival training and mentoring for aspiring, emerging, and mid - career performing artists.” Mr. Ackamoor just received a $50,000 Composer Commission presented by the Gebode Foundation. In December 2016 Idris received a THEATRE BAY AREA LEGACY AWARD presented to individuals that have made “extraordinary contributions to the Bay Area theatre community.” In 2015 he received THE SUI GENERIS FOUNDATION Achievement Award for “one of a kind contributions, which benefit society in unique ways”. He has been honored with TWO Lifetime Achievement Awards for his extraordinary musical and theatrical contributions. The most recent was presented in January 2012 by the renowned BBC radio personality Gilles Peterson at the Worldwide Awards Show in London. In 2003 San Francisco’s historic magazine, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, presented Idris with his first.
Idris has performed and collaborated with tenor Saxophonists Chico Freeman and John Tchicai, the late alto saxophonist Charles Tyler, drummer Famoudou Don Moye of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, The Cecil Taylor Creative Orchestra, choreographer/dancer Bill T. Jones, writer Ntozake Shange and Pearl Cleage, his longtime partner actress Rhodessa Jones, and many others. Idris was a protégé of Chicago legendary master clarinetist Clifford King who had played with Jelly Roll Morton and Freddie Keppard in the 1920s.
Idris received his B.A. in Music from Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio where one of his most influential teachers was the influential pianist Cecil Taylor. Idris has also studied tap dance with legendary hoofers Al Robinson, Steve Condos, and Eddie Brown. Mr. Ackamoor is one of the first musicians of his generation to have traveled, lived and studied in Africa in 1973. During his stay in Africa he performed with the King’s Prayer Drummers of Tamale, Ghana as well as lived in Kenya where he studied the music of the Kikuyu and Masai. In 2013 Mr. Ackamoor received a James Irvine Foundation Exploring Engagement Fund Award to conduct concerts, music workshops, and rehearsals to build the Music is the Healing Force Community Orchestra composed of low-income, African American, and nonprofessional musicians culminating in concert presentations in nontraditional arts venues in San Francisco.
The U.S. Department of State, Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau selected Idris twice as an Arts Envoy. In his role as an arts ambassador he journeyed to Johannesburg, South Africa conducting residency activities inside the Naturena Women’s Prison with his partner Rhodessa Jones. In 2007 Idris conducted his first U.S. Department of State Speakers Tour of Russia where he conducted performances and workshops throughout the country.
Idris has rightfully been in the spotlight of late thanks to the renewed interest in his 1970s legendary band, THE PYRAMIDS. He is just returning from the bands 15th European tour throughout the continent culminating in an historic live radio broadcast in London for the BBC program LATE JUNCTION. In the last three years a stunning 12 albums have been released of Mr. Ackamoor’s music, including the first Pyramids’ album in over 35 years entitled eater in San Francesco.