As part of only four drummers accepted into Berklee College of Music’s exclusive Masters program known as the “Berklee Global Jazz Institute” for the 2022-2023 academic year, Ghana’s Shadrack “Shaddy” Oppong has been scaling heights ever since!
In a latest update on his experiences gathered so far, the Ghanaian power-drumming enigma has found himself thrilling thousands at the world renowned Panama Jazz Festival which took place from the 16th to 21st of January 2023 at the Ciudad del Saber as its educational venue & Wyndham Panama Albrook Mall Hotel & Convention Center.
Founded in September 2003 by pianist and Grammy winner Danilo Pérez, Panama Jazz Festival which has spanned a period of 20 years witnessed the mastery of big names in the game perform to an audience of over 60,000 music lovers.
Shaddy, who participated as the official drummer for Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, shared stages with mega names in the world of jazz music including Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes; singer Catherine Russell (daughter of Panamanian native pioneer of jazz Luis Russell); Children of the Light featuring bassist John Patitucci, drummer Brian Blade and pianist Danilo Perez; Latin pop star singer-songwriter (of the global sensational song “Despacito”) Erika Ender, master drummer from Cuba Roman Diaz; and the all-star ensemble Global Jazz Womxn featuring Israeli sax player Lihi Haruvi.
Other artists that performed on the night were Proyecto Acustico from El Salvador and distinguished national projects such as the Luis Russell Collective, Hijas del Jazz Big Band, Anthony Morris Kuna Jazz Quintet, Panamanian folk star Celsito Quintero, Idania Dowman, and many more.
In addition, through the program Arts Envoy, the Embassy of the United States in Panama hosted distinguished global jazz musicians Farayi Malek, Nadia Washington and Chase Morrin.
It was a week of enriching concerts highlighting the great gala night held at the Anayansi Theater in Atlapa Convention Center on Wednesday, January 18, 2023. The same theater presented great live jazz performances on Thursday, January 19, and Friday, January 20. Ateneo Theater, located in the City of Knowledge, also presented night concerts on Monday and Tuesday of the week of the festival; and Wyndham Hotel presented intimate performances every afternoon.
The Panama Jazz Festival’s signature educational events happened at the City of Knowledge and hosted distinguished institutions such as Berklee College of Music and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute of which Shaddy put up a sterling performance while sharing knowledge & experiences gathered in his years of drumming, with students and patrons.
It also hosted the New England Conservatory, and New York Jazz Academy, among others. The Festival celebrated the 11th Latin American Music Therapy Symposium bringing together music therapists from Panama, Chile, the United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, among other countries.
Other important symposiums that took place during the festival included the 2nd Symposium of Natives Peoples, the 7th Symposium of the Culture and Music of Afro-Panamanians, and the first Symposium of Panama and the Caribbean in Jazz History.