|Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfege
Hometown: New York
Web site: http://www.derrickashong.com
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If you find that your musical and cultural diet has felt a little bland lately, and have been wondering where you might find fresh sounds and ideas that surpass in sum and substance the increasingly monotone world of urban music today, well search no more—welcome to the eclectic and compelling world of Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège! To call these artists merely a musical group is clearly reductionist and an enormous understatement. Their reach and breadth is so much more. Yet, they are a band of very creative and talented musicians from a diverse variety of impressive backgrounds, and they have brought together a festive amalgam of musical styles, a taste of which is amply demonstrated on their new single release, “AFropolitan,” a preview, and the title cut, of their upcoming CD to be released in the fall of 2011.
"Here are musicians, poised with a positive vibe and with lyrics so uplifting that you actually believe, if only for one night, that slowly, out of a species-wide weariness for discord and conflict, a new world mood may emerge from the street and the Net, somehow defying the odds—a spirit of promise and hope and harmony, a spirit that denies dissonance. Soulfège lets us dream such sweet dreams, in vibrant colors."—VanityFair.com
Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège embody the pluralistic vision of a new generation of music makers and socially conscious activists. Leader and co-founder Derrick N. Ashong, a.k.a. DNA, recently dubbed a "YouTube phenom" by the New York Times, is the host of The Derrick Ashong Experience on Oprah radio and is a Ghana-born, Oprah-endorsed Harvard graduate. He originally formed Soulfège with college choir mate Jonathan M. Gramling. Subsequently they created Take Back the Mic™, a movement to put meaning back into today's music and to challenge a new generation of youth to find their own voice and take on roles of leadership in society. More recently, Ashong joined the team at Al Jazeera English as host of their new social media-based TV show The Stream. It launched online in April of 2011, and debuted via satellite in 250 million homes world-wide at the beginning of May.
"Its [Soulfège’s] members realized they had the platform to reach ears not only with their music—a fusion of thumping African music and rhythms, sweet reggae breezes, funk, and hip-hop—but also with their message."
—The Boston Globe
Along with Ashong, Soulfège’s most celebratory vehicle for the expression of their humanistic message and values is their music. Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège are a critically-acclaimed, refreshingly original and exciting group of musicians who have synthesized a blend of Hip-Hop, Reggae, Funk, World Beat and West African Highlife music to create an integral musical mélange of style and substance. This dynamic six-piece ensemble—propelled by drumming phenomenon Stix ‘Mr. Pocket’ Bones, rock-solid Berklee grad & Funk/Rock bassist Alex Staley, Ghanaian percussion prodigy Atta Addo, and keyboard wizard Micah Hulscher—combines driving rhythms, authentic musicianship, the crisp harmonies of Ashong and Gramling and provocatively elevating lyrics; a combination that transcends and defies even the most imaginative of descriptive capacities. They are a powerful live act and a vivid new voice that has perpetually electrified audiences with their joyous ‘Afropolitan’ fusion.
Soulfège’s previous CD, Take Back the Mic, debuted in the top 10 of the JamBands.com/Relix Magazine Radio Chart and the top 100 of the Jazz Week World Chart. The music and their social movement have been featured in such major media as VanityFair.com, MTV Africa, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, MNet Africa, ABC Chronicle and BBC Worldservice, reaching 146 million listeners worldwide. Check out their current soul-stirring single, “AFropolitan,” the title cut of their highly anticipated upcoming CD release in the fall.
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