Poet and native Angeleno Kamau Daáood began his career in the late 60’s as a member of the Watts Writers Workshop and the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, under the direction of pianist Horace Tapscott. He co-founded The World Stage Performance Gallery in Los Angeles with Master Drummer Billy Higgins in 1989. Kamau is the author of The Language of Saxophones: Selected Poems of Kamau Daaood, City Lights Publishers, 2005, and in 2012, was Artist-in-Resident at the University of Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France. There, Le Castor Astral published a bi-lingual translation of Kamau’s work, Notes D’un Griot De Los Angeles, 2012.
Kamau has worked as instructor and curator for the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department at the Watts Towers Arts Center, and has taught African-American Music at California University at Northridge and Otis College of Art and Design. In 1997, he recorded the critically acclaimed CD Leimert Park, M.A.M.A. Records, winner of the Josephine Miles Pen Oakland Award. He has also performed on numerous CDs as a guest artist. He has been the subject and featured poet in several award-winning documentaries, including Life is a Saxophone produced by S. Pearl Sharp, 1984; Leimert Park: The Story of a Village in South Central L.A. by Jeannette Lindsay, 2005; and the PBS documentary Race is the Place, Paradigm Productions, 2005.
Amid Daaood’s numerous honors and awards, he has received the the Visionary Mid Level Career Grant, 2007 from Asian Improv Arts through the Ford Foundation; the Association of Jazz Journalist 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 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.
Kamau Daaood has spent over forty years performing, recording, curating, teaching and producing. This includes organizing and creating art in schools, churches, prisons, storefronts, arts venues, libraries, festivals, conferences, radio, television, museums, and galleries locally, nationally, and internationally.