Elikeh: Afropop That Will Make You Shake Your Ass

When I was originally asked to interview Massama Dogo, lead singer of Elikeh, I had no idea what to expect. Personally, I’ve never really listened to African-funk-jazz-rock but I also never hated it; so the first step was to do some research about Elikeh and obviously, to take a listen.


Photo credit John Shore

I immediately started blasting it at work in my my lab and even managed to start an impromptu dance party with my fellow labmates (yes, labcoats and all). Needless to say I was pretty stoked to do this interview, but I digress.

Elikeh is originally from Washington, D.C. and its members include Dogo (vocals and guitar), Gabin Assouramou (percussion), Scott Aronson (bass), Clayton Englar (saxophone, flute, and vocals), Frank Martins (guitar), Megan Nortrup (saxophone), and Aaron Pratts (trumpet).  The band met in 2005 and has produced three albums together, a feat which Dogo describes as a growing process.

“The band tries to find the sound that represents who we are as a band rather than copy a style of music and play right away,” Dogo explains.  “Music evolves and represents who we are.”

He insists that the band is working hard to encompass the sounds and experiences each member has to offer and adds that, regardless of the inspiration behind the music, the audience is sure to enjoy the show.

“The audience is going to come back because they will have so much fun,” Dogo says. “The message is serious stuff but we put on happy music.”

Like I said, impromptu dance party approved.

Photo credit to www.elikeh.com

Photo credit to http://www.elikeh.com

Elikeh’s recent record, Between Two Worlds, was actually recorded on two different continents. We all know how hard it is just to get our friends together in the same place at the same time for band practice, but to be able to produce an album in Africa and the U.S. is quite an amazing feat.  The album really represents an important step in the life of the band, a band made of Africans and Americans making “African music with exploration into American rock, blues, and funk.”  They are currently touring to support this record and of course are already busy writing new tunes for the next record, which I can only imagine will be even more evolved and a step further for Elikeh in finding their true sound.

Elikeh has also been nominated for not one, but SEVEN Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards)!  The band has been nominated in the past but this year the categories include Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, World Music Vocalist, World Music Duo Group, and World Recording.  Interested in seeing what a seven Wammies-nominated band sounds like? You’re in luck! Elikeh will be playing at DROM on February 22nd, but to hold you over you can find tunes on their webpage, and you can even buy their album through iTunes.

WHEN: Friday, February 22nd, Doors 9:00 PM, Show 9:30 PM

WHERE:  DROM, 85 Ave A, Manhattan

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