Elikeh uses elements of Togolese rhythms as a foundation for exploration into American-influenced blues, funk and rock to produce captivating Afro-pop tunes that are as listenable as they are danceable. Although based in indigenous traditions, Elikeh’s music has no borders, exploring global themes and personal odysseys.
The group’s leader, Massama Dogo, was born in Togo and developed his singing and songwriting ability performing with several local bands. He also acted as musical director of the University Orchestra in Togo.
Elikeh recently released a new album Between 2 Worlds featuring the Malian guitarist, Vieux Farka Toure and John Kadlecik, lead Guitarist of Furthur. In recent months, Elikeh has performed with Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, The Wailers, Vieux Farka Toure, Bombino and John Kadlecik of Furthur.
Check out our Upcoming Shows for your next chance to catch this group live!
The Musicians of ELIKEH:
Serge Massama Dogo – lead vocals & guitar
Born and raised in Togo, Massama developed his deft songwriting ability beginning with several high school bands playing reggae, pop, rock in Lome. While at the Universite du Benin (Lome), Massama acted as musical director of the University Orchestra from ’97 – ’99. Upon his arrival in the US in 2000, he began performing with various groups in the DC area.
Frank Martins – guitar
From Nigeria, Frank is a master guitar player. He performed with many great names of the Nigeria scene including OJ Ekemode and Sunny Okosun. Frank settled in Washington, DC after many years traveling the word as a professional musician. Frank’s guitar playing brings lots of energy and great feel to Elikeh’s sound.
Megan Nortrup – saxophone
Megan is a Maryland native who has been playing the saxophone since an early age. She earned an undergraduate degree in music at the University of Illinois , Urbana-Champaign, where she studied with Debra Richtmeyer and Ron Bridgewater. She has toured nationally and internationally and is a veteran of the DC Funk Squad, the Claudius Linton band, and numerous other groups. As a saxophonist, Megan draws inspiration from some of the great jazz players of the 20th century including Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and the Caribbean side of Sonny Rollins. We love Megan’s solid and energetic playing.
Aaron Gibian – drums
Aaron’s love of music started at a young age thanks to his father, also a drummer. A Washington, D.C. native, Aaron ardently opposes stylistic limitations in favor of fusion music and creative percussion. Trained in rudimentary, classical and jazz drumming, Aaron’s affinity for the groove and interest in African music led him to join Elikeh in Summer 2012.
Marty Pell – organ and piano
Marty‘s musical roots run deep in the music of the 1960’s and 70’s – rock and roll as well as jazz and blues. A native of the D.C. area, he moved to New Jersey in 1978, where he helped form the seminal acid jazz fusion group, Periphery, before moving the whole band to San Francisco the following year. In San Francisco, he was a founding member of the legendary Fallen Angel, and played in many other projects as well, including world beat bands Unruly World and The Rhyth-o-matics. Marty is an experienced engineer as well as a musician and has played and recorded with many bands and projects in studios on both coasts, most recently here in the DC area, where he still plays regularly in Grateful Dead tribute band, On the Bus. His fiery solos and tasteful accompaniments on the organ and piano lend spirit and depth to any project he’s involved with. He has become a welcome addition to Elikeh.
Besu Tadesse – saxophone
Born in DC, raised in Maryland, with roots in Ethiopia, Besu Tadesse has had a long and diverse music career. Known an “Sticky Bear” in the music scene, Besu was a member of the bands Sugoi and Moonliscious, as well as a founding member of the Ethio-fusion band Kino Musica. Trained in classical and jazz music, he has also played major stages, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, and the Oriental Art Center in Shanghai. Besu joined Elikeh in 2015.
Michael Kweku Owusu – percussion
Michael Kweku Owusu grew up in the Arts Center, a constructed community attached to Accra’s Center for National Culture, where some of Ghana’s most talented artists and craftspeople live and work. Around age 11, Kweku began to build drums by assisting experienced drum builders. While learning this trade he also picked up drumming. He was the lead drummer at the Ghana Dance Association and work at the National Commission on Culture, also a member of the musical union of Ghana. In 2004, Kweku was working with his mentor at the Art Center when he came to the conclusion he wanted to support the youth of his community. For the next three years, he secured funding to build the physical structure of the workshop studio by making and selling drums locally and abroad and by performing throughout Ghana. This experience along with the workshop space provided him with the impetus to launch the Drumming Up From Poverty (DUFP) project. Since the end of 2007, DUFP has been an active drumming arts program that has offered a place where youth can learn drum-making, drumming and dancing. Since its inception, over 45 youth have acquired skill-training and associated cultural awareness.
Hall of Champions
(Our Former Members)
Clayton Englar – sax & flute, vocals
Clayton has been playing sax since the age of 12. Living in San Francisco during the 1970’s he studied with the late saxophonist Joe Henderson, and played with and co-led a variety of bands, including the jazz/fusion quartet Thursday Group – with which he recorded and co-produced 2 albums shortly after moving to the Washington, D.C. area in 1980. Since then Clayton has played actively with an eclectic mix of groups, including his own Windmill Saxophone Quartet, the jazz/world/fusion sextet Equinox, and the Con Moto Flute and Guitar Duo. He has produced 3 albums with Windmill and 1 with Equinox – including 2 on his own label, Global View Music.
Scott Aronson – bass
Scott was born on Long Island, NY and moved to DC full time in 1996. He has been playing the bass since the age of 15 up and down the East Coast. Scott is a founding member of the Wammie Award winning DC alt power pop band, Bicycle Thieves, which has been together since 1996. He has also served as bass player for top Togolese pop star, King Mensah, when he has played the in the area. Influences include Jack Bruce, Sting, Geddy Lee, Victor Wooten and Charles Mingus. Scott believes in the old adage: you can’t hold no groove, if you ain’t got no pocket!