Elikeh Adje! Adje!
Published May 31, 2010Togolese roots music ambassador and leader of Elikeh, Massama Dogo follows in the footsteps of Fela Kuti, anchoring his reputation in political protest while wrapping his expressions in a captivating package of polyrhythmic, cacophonous joy. Due to the record's mostly upbeat nature and the fact that Dogo sings mainly in a dialect specific to Togo's capital, the full weight of his message risks passing his listeners by, at least until they reach the final track, which has an affecting, sobering effect on the overall experience of Adje! Adje!, assuming one understands French. On "Madjo," he invites Malian rap artist Yeli Fuzzo to turn French verses into an earnest, reflective soliloquy about the challenges of maintaining cultural identity while evolving and working to improve social issues that plague the status quo. Dogo lives his message on a sonic level — walking the talk, so to speak — embracing indigenous Togolese polyrhythms and blending them with highlife and '70s Afro-rock, which he branded "Afro-high." Elikeh's captivating, anthemic funk surfaces from its roots as triumphantly unique, while being a force for collective unity. (Azalea City)