Kamau Daaood

Kamau Daaood

Performance Poet | Author | Cultural Developer

“I am a devout poet.  I believe that the right words offered in the right way can be music holding us together.  When we can speak the language of essence, we will be able to commune in a space miles above dogma and the confines of individual traditions.  And we can develop into evolved human beings capable of radiating profound love, light and service to others.  I believe wholeheartedly that art in community is noble work that fosters beauty and meaning into our lives.  That art is vital and necessary. I believe in the sacredness of breathing.”

"A mythic figure in the Southern California arts scene, Kamau Daáood is a performance poet, educator and community arts activist who is widely acknowledged as a major driving force behind Los Angeles' black cultural renaissance."  - Mama Magazine

Kamau Daaood co-founded The World Stage in 1989 with the late world-renowned master jazz drummer Billy Higgins, in an attempt to fill a cultural void in the L.A. community. Initially formed as a loose collective of artists and arts supporters, The World Stage has grown to assume a pioneering and pivotal role in South L.A.’s music and art landscape.

This debut album combines straight-ahead jazz, world music, blues and hip hop with Kamau's compelling poems of redemption, dignity and salvation. The result is an impressive recording that blurs the distinction between art and entertainment, and affirms Kamau Daáood's role as an urban prophet and word musician. Featured performers include Billy Higgins, Horace Tapscott, James Newton, Carmen Bradford, Dr. Art Davis and B Sharp Jazz Quartet.

The Language of Saxophones offers a good sample of the work that has made Daáood such a respected figure among black poets, and among all poets who take their role as bards and teachers straight, no irony. Early poems establish a voice as one that is at once fiery and philosophical, scattershot but continually looking for order and reason in a landscape usually devoid of it..." — The LA Weekly

Kamau Daaood and his words have been driving forces in the area's revitalization. To many, he is the "essence of the community."


Amid Daaood’s numerous honors and awards he has received the Visionary Mid-Level Career Grant, 2007 from the Asian Improv Arts thru Ford Foundation; Association of Jazz Journalists Award for a Lifetime of Service, 2006; the Charles Mingus Award, presented by Watts Towers Community Action Council, Cultural Affairs Department and Community Redevelopment Agency, 2005; a California Artist Fellowship, 2002; a Durfee Artist Fellowship, 2000; a Cave Canem Retreat Fellowship, 2000; the L.A. Artcore 10th Annual Award for Lifetime Contribution, 1998; and the Charles R. Drew University Jazz at Drew Lifetime Achievement Award in1997. He has received numerous proclamations and certificates of recognition from community, government and educational institutions.

As an educator Kamau has taught in the California Poets in the Schools Program, California State University Northridge and Otis Art Institute of Parson School of Design. He is one of three co-founders to the Anansi Writer’s Workshop in 1990 that still serves the community today.

Kamau has performed his works at countless venues that include the Dunya and North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland; Earshot Jazz and Bumbershoot Festivals in Seattle; the Steppenwolf Theater and Guild Complex in Chicago; the Getty, Hammer and MOCA Museums in Los Angeles; the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta; the Schomburg Center in Harlem, New York; the Alcazar library in Marseille; and the Banlieues Bleues Festivals in Bordeaux and Paris, France.


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