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IDRIS ACKAMOOR is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, actor, tap dancer, director, producer, and videographer. He is the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey. Idris' primary instrument is the alto saxophone. An accomplished tap dancer, Idris' signature performance is his uncanny ability to combine tap dancing with playing his saxophone simultaneously. Beginning in January of 2009 Idris will embark on Cultural Odyssey's 30th Anniversary Tour performing his newest performance piece, The Love Project, written in collaboration with noted writer Pearl Cleage and Zaron Burnett, at La Mama E.T.C. in New York City, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa, Florida, 7 Stages in Atlanta and many other locations. In November 2008, for the first time in South African history, Idris Ackamoor was the assistant director (working with partner and director Rhodessa Jones) for a full-length theater production with female inmates inside the Johannesburg Correctional Services (popularly known as "Sun City prison"). This was Mr. Ackamoor's second visit to South Africa hosted by the Urban Voices Festival. In 2005 he performed at the world famous Market Theater of Johannesburg.
During 2008 Idris performed The Love Project at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Denison University in Granville, Ohio, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, and the National Black Theater Festival in North Carolina. Mr. Ackamoor is the recipient of a 2007 Center for Cultural Innovation Award to support his work.
During July and April 2007 Idris conducted performances and residency activities in Trinidad & Tobago at the University of the West Indies. In February and March 2007 he performed the role of musician "Moses Britten" in Indigo Blues, a play by Judi Ann Mason that ran at the M Ensemble Theater in Miami, Florida and at the Penumbra Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1999. He also performed the role of legendary jazz musician Lester Young in the Lorraine Hansberry Production of "The Resurrection of Lady Lester" by Oyamo. In May 2007 Idris performed at the San Francisco International Arts Festival with the "Underground Jazz Cabaret" featuring a reunion of his legendary jazz group, "The Pyramids". As a tap dancer Idris has performed at the 4th Annual International Tap Dance Human Rhythm Festival touring to 3 cities in Holland In September 2001. He took his solo simultaneous tap dance and sax act to Japan in the summer of 1996 where he performed six days a week in the Japanese cities of Shimenoseki, Osaka, and Tokyo. Some of the noted artists he has collaborated with include percussionist Don Moye of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, saxophonists Chico Freeman, dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones, writer/poet Ntozake Shange and many others.
Mr. Ackamoor has received many awards for his work including a GOLDIE Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Most recently he received a Meet The Composer and American Composers Forum grant for composing new music, and a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artists Commission. Idris achieved a musical milestone with the just-released two-CD retrospective of his recorded output entitled, Music of Idris Ackamoor 1971-2004 on EM Records of Japan. In 2004 Idris released his third CD entitled, "Homage to Cuba". In 1999 Idris released his second jazz CD entitled, "Centurian" and in 1998 he recorded and released his first CD entitled "Portrait". During 2009 three albums by The Pyramids will be re-released as CDs on the Locust Music Label.