Elikeh brings African roots music to D.C.

Tim Bracken, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Local songwriter Massama Dogo and his band Elikeh are celebrating the release of their new album with a performance at the Black Cat nightclub Friday.

“The name Elikeh means roots,” Dogo explains. “In our case…rooted in African music.”

The eight-piece band uses elements of Togolese and other traditional African music as a foundation for exploration into American-influenced rock and funk. The title of the album, “Between 2 Worlds,” references Dogo’s personal experience as an immigrant from West Africa, the band’s sound and even the recording process.

Portions of the album were recorded in Mali, Togo and Maryland. Elikeh’s first incarnation showcased strictly authentic traditional African music, but that quickly changed. Each band member’s individual musical background eventually became woven into the group’s sound.

“We are from different places. We can’t just play music from one single place,” which makes this “something really different, and I think it’s a good thing,” Dogo says.

The result of that natural musical evolution brought forth songs that simultaneously evoke Afrobeat, reggae, ’70s funk and American soul music. The new album also features guest appearances from John Kadlecik of Dark Star Orchestra and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Tour

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