This multitalented musician is a 2005 Juno Award Winner and a double winner at TAMA (Toronto African Music Awards) for Best Release and Best New Performers in 1997. Adam was born in Mombasa, Kenya, and began performing at an early age, playing kivoti (flute) and kayaamba (shaker) at village celebrations and festivals. He established his career playing lead guitar and singing on recordings and videos with Kenya's most popular bands and musicians, including Joseph Kamaru, Daudi Kabaka, Zetta success band, Kabasselleh Ochieng, Bana Citoyen, Super Kalles, Bana Batoto, Super Mazembe, Less Wanyika, Popo Lipo of Lessa Lessan, Professor Mb.Naaman with the Nine stars band,Kanda Bongo Man, Fadhili Williams, Juma Toto, and the Mombasa Roots band. Adam's touring credits include workshops and performances with Congolese superstar Papa Wemba and Ismael Lo from Senegal.
Adam was a co-founder of Canada's great pan-African band, the Afronubians, with whom he toured western Canada in 1993. He collaborated with them for two CD releases, "Tour To Africa" (1994) and "The Great Africans" (1995). Adam collaborated on Show Do Man's release "Trouble Trouble" (1994), also on Tae Kwarro's CD in the year 2000 by Achilla Orru. He has released three of his own CDs, including "Safari" in 1996 and "Rocket Express II: African Renaissance Blues" in 2003. Adam formed his own band, Tikisa, in 1995, with whom he continues to tour. Their CD, "Mti wa Maisha/Tree of Life" was released in the spring of 2006. In 2007, Adam released "Roots Rhythms (Magoma Asili)", an homage to the traditional rhythms of the Mijikenda (Nine Tribes) people of costal Kenya.
To honor Black History Month celebrations, Adam has become a valuable contributor to cultural education through music and storytelling, presenting interactive programs at universities, schools, and libraries. Retaining his roots in traditional music, Adam's compositions embrace a wide variety of African rhythms, from traditional soukous, highlife and reggae to samba, bossanova and rhumba. On his latest African Renaissance Blues album, Adam brings the blues back to the African continent where they originated with African slaves. The effortless manner with which he controls the guitar so that it sings with him exemplifies the talent of this East African native. Adam's style of guitar playing is renaissance because it carefully fuses the Mississippi Delta blues style of BB King and Muddy Waters while highlighting the African blues style.
In conjunction with the CBC, Adam continues to perform with a diverse group of pan-African musicians (including Madagascar Slim, Donne Roberts, Pa Joe, Alpha Yaya Diallo and The Mighty Popo), which culminated in the release of the "African Guitar Summit " CD in 2004. This led to a Juno award for Best World Music Album of the Year in 2005 . The same year, Adam and his African Guitar Summit colleagues performed at the Live 8 concert at Park Place in Barrie as part of the "Make Poverty History" campaign. The "African Guitar Summit II" CD was released and led to a 2006 Juno nomination in the same category .
Adam has also done several live recordings with the CBC, and has toured extensively across Canada, performing at music festivals as varied as Afrofest and the Toronto Street Festival, Whistler Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Blues Summit for the Toronto Blues Society. He's done work for the Toronto International Film Festival, and participated in documentaries including "The Immigrants" (produced by Jack Orlando) and "Jambo Kenya" (produced by Lalita Krishna & InSync Video).
Adam sings in six languages, including Swahili, English, and Arabic. "The Professor", as he is known in musical circles, is highly respected as a lead guitarist and vocalist. In addition, he is experienced as a bass and rhythm guitar player, and is facile on the keyboard and percussion instruments. He performs as a blues soloist as well as with his multicultural band Tikisa, creating a unique sound that combines traditional and modern coastal East African rhythms, Soukous, Makossa, and Highlife which is joyful to hear.
Adam Is a current member of the Toronto Musician's Association, OCFF, CARAS and SOCAN.
--By Nancy Barrett & Opiyo Oloya