For three decades, Michael J. Olson aka Doctor Twang has been dedicated to music and dance as vehicles for communication and the sharing of cultures, ideas and ideologies between nations, communities and individuals. Instrumentality, Michael plays guitar, bass, djembe, congas and many other drums and percussion instruments including marimba, berimbao, and kalimba. As both a student and a performer of traditional and popular music and dance from Africa and the African Diaspora, Olson has studied and/or collaborated with many internationally respected musicians and dancers including: Ojeya-Cruz Banks, Abdou Kounta, Aziz Ahmed, Denise Bey, Ladji Camara, Arturo Rodriquez, Eno Washington, Abdou Dumbia, Caramba Dioubate, Guillermo Fás, Amadou Dembele, Rasaki Aladokun, Albert Nyathi and Imbongi, and the Bulawayo Kwela Kings. He has also written and arranged music for Arami Robinson (Nigeria) and Emanuel Ayafor (Cameroon), Bassirima Soro (Cote d’Ivoire), Tafadzwa Matamba and Praise Zenenga (both from Zimbabwe). Bands with which he is or has been associated have opened up concerts for King Sunny Ade, Kanda Bongo Man, Baba Maal, Lura, Queen Ida, Eek a Mouse, Zulu Spear, O.J. Ekemode, Toubab Krewe, Baba Ken Okulolo and the Afro-Groove ConneXion, Khaira Arby and, most recently, Tinariwen.
In addition to years of supporting the traditional drum and dance community as a musician, Olson has directed or co-directed; The World Music Ensemble Pulse, The G-Force Project, Batucaxé and the Key Ingredients of African Soul.
In early 2008, what began as a series of lunchtime jams resulted in the creation of The Key Ingredients of African Soul, a coalition of many talented musicians from Africa and the USA. Playing music from Africa and beyond, with Doctor Twang as their primary music arranger, the Key Ingredients of African Soul are the latest and most impressive evolution of a musical vision which began over thirty years ago.