Mohammed Alidu was born into the Bizung lineage of talking drum chiefs of Northern Ghana, studying with his father from the age of 3 years old. Alidu’s father taught him the history of his tribe, singing, and the language of the talking drum as his ancestors had done before him. By the age of 5, Alidu was accompanying his father to performances at the King’s palace. These performances helped to further open up the world of music to Alidu, as he listened to different drum languages being played.
In 1995, Alidu was invited to be the principal drummer for the national dance company of Ghana – The Ghana Dance Ensemble. While with the company, he traveled to the United States to perform in New York, Washington DC, and California. He also performed for President Clinton during his visit to Ghana.
Alidu has performed in many countries throughout the world. In 2004, he spent one year in Madagascar, collaborating with local artists. It was there that he started to compose and perform his unique blend of Afropop music. The songs were not bound by the idea of fitting into the boundaries and structures of a specific musical tradition; they simply rose from a desire to make music that was both compelling and poignant.In 2009 Alidu brought the project of a music school in his hometown to the PFCF and since the school opened in 2009, he teaches there during several months every year.
Mohammed Alidu writes: In 2005 I moved to Boulder, Colorado from Madagascar to continue my music career. In Spring, 2006, while trying to purchase some music recording software I met Mickey Houlihan. Mickey is a Co-Director for Looking Glass Arts, which is a Colorado Non-Profit that runs a summer camp for high school students. He and I became friends, and I worked as a drum instructor for his camp from 2006 through 2008. Mickey had been friends with Mark Johnson for years, and in fact, helped Mark develop his first portable sound system used by Playing For Change. I met Mark Johnson, and his brother Greg, in the Summer of 2007 when they were in Colorado producing the Playing For Change Foundation's first benefit concert. I immediately connected with them, and Playing For Change's mission to connect the world through music. Since that time, I have played several shows with the Playing For Change Band, and my involvement with PFC continues to be a principal passion in my life. When I play with the Band I feel as if all of the years I spent drumming in my home in Northern Ghana had a purpose...Playing For Change!
URL: Bizung Family
Instruments: Talking Drum, Djembe