Louis Armstrong in Africa
Original photo circa 1960, Plate 634
Armstrong and his musicians had, for many years been among America’s best ambassadors; spreading ‘cultural diplomacy’ often in places where ‘traditional diplomacy’ had failed or could not reach.
His tours of Africa were an awakening for him. He was able to see, first-hand, how unbelievably popular he was across the African continent; a fact that left him truly stunned and determined to return after his first visit in May 1956.
The ‘official and conservative’ estimates have it that on the tours of Africa, Armstrong and his band played to about 500,000 (half a million) people. In Ghana, he played to an estimated 100,000 at the Old Polo Grounds. They also found time to play more intimate concert venues and see and hang out with local musicians.