If you have been wondering where you might find fresh sounds and heavy-duty lyrics that surpass in sum and substance the increasingly monotone world of much urban music today, search no more. Enter the eclectic and electrifying world of Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège. Their work exemplifies more than music; it's a movement. Yet they are a band of blisteringly creative and talented musicians from a diversity of backgrounds, and they have brought together a dynamic amalgam of musical styles, amply exhibited on their new CD release, AFropolitan.
"Here are musicians, poised with a positive vibe and with lyrics so uplifting that you actually believe . . . 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
The band is a critically-acclaimed, refreshingly original group of musicians who have synthesized a blend of Hip-Hop, Reggae, Funk, World Beat and West African Highlife music to create a 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 Jonathan M. Gramling and provocatively elevating lyrics, a combination that transcends even the most imaginative of descriptive capacities. They are a powerful live act and a vivid new voice that has perpetually ignited audiences with their joyous ‘Afropolitan’ fusion.
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, dubbed “a YouTube phenom” by the New York Times, is former host of The Derrick Ashong Experience on Oprah radio and Al-Jazeera English’s cutting-edge social media TV show The Stream, where he scooped some of the biggest social change stories in the world today, winning a Webbie & a Royal Television Society (RTS) Award for Innovation. The Ghana-born, Oprah-endorsed Harvard graduate 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.
"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
With the advent of 2012, events have been moving at a furious pace for DNA and Soulfège. Among their most recent accomplishments is the launch of their Million Download Campaign which has netted over 50,000 free downloads of songs and remixes from AFropolitan since its end-of-January launch, with downloads from over 50 countries worldwide. Fast Company Magazine recently featured DNA in an interview entitled, “Derrick Ashong on Going Viral Again and Again.” The Campaign held events presenting their innovations in music promotion & distribution as part of “Social Media Week” in New York and Washington DC in February. Ashong was an invited speaker to present the Campaign at Google Headquarters in California during the same month. In the first week of AFropolitan's release on broadcast radio, the album placed in the Top 50 of the JazzWeek World Music Charts, and their short animated film for the song “Love Rain Down” was accepted into the Palm Beach International Film Festival and World Music International Film Festival for 2012. And if all this was not enough, “Easy Does It,” another cut from the CD, took a finalist slot in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest; Ashong was identified by Tonya Pendleton at BlackAmericaWeb.com as one of “Five Brilliant Brothers You Should Know by Now”; the band performed at Club de Madrid’s gala dinner honoring former President Bill Clinton with the Democratic Leadership Award; and more recently, they appeared at the NXNE Music Festival in Toronto.
Soulfège’s 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. See for yourself what all the buzz is about and be sure to download and share their latest CD release, AFropolitan for free at www.derrickashong.com.
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