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The Afropolitan Experience With Derrick Ashong and Soulfege

by Pamela Stitch
31 Jan 2012 at 05:02hrs | Views
An established media personality, DNA is the television host of "The Stream" on Al Jazeera English. "The Stream" premiered in May 2011 and it integrates new and traditional media, tapping into the extraordinary potential of social media to disseminate news. This show aggregates on-line sources and discussion, while seeking out unheard voices, for new perspectives from people on the ground. More information about "The Stream" can be found at Derrick also served as the host of "The Derrick Ashong Experience" on SIRIUS XM's Oprah Radio.

For our January edition of Pamela's world, we got the chance to speak with Ghanaian born Derrick Ashong.  Derrick leads the band  Soulfege which has been performing for more than 5 years and have about 3 heavy weight CDs' to their name.   Their most recent CD - Afropolitan is actually very different from their other CDs  in that we see an incorporation of various African, American as well as Latin sounds.   You can hear Hip Hop, Reggae, Blues, Soul, Latin and more.  Go download it for free now.   This is an excerpt of the interview, you can visit to listen to the podcast.

How long did it take you to put this  CD together?

We actually had the first rehearsal in September of 2009,  we finally went into the studio to start recording was January 2010 and when we finished the record , mastering and mixing, it was late summer 2011, then we released it officially.  So, it was about two years in the making.  Hopefully, the next one won't take this long. This one took a lot of effort and we tried a lot of things that we didn't try before.

This CD sounds very different from your past CD's?  Can you tell us more?

As an artist you do not want to feel like you are stagnant and you are not pushing the boundaries.  So we had to further expand what we thought is possible for a band like ours musically.  So one of the things that we notice on the album is that you hear the traditional sounds that people are accustomed to hearing from us, you hear elements of Hip Hop, Reggae and West African Highlife.  You also hear in this album, some components of Blues, hints of Latin music and Americana and your New Orleans sounds.  All these different sounds aren't at the core of what we do but are elements of what we grew up with.  We were like how do we stretch ourselves? How do we make this a part of us? How do we give that a Soulfege treatment?  We kept it rooted in who we are, we just allowed ourselves to dream bigger.

How has the response been?

The response has been absolutely amazing.  It has been really incredible.  So positive.  We have had thousands of downloads of album from around the world.  We have decided to  have a special campaign this year.  Almost like our own 2012, political campaign to give away a million downloads of the album by Christmas of 2012.  You can download the record from  They should download the album, tell their friends to download the album and pass the word along.  We will keep on pushing till we reach that million download.

You have mentioned that this CD has a message inherent that we have to stretch ourselves beyond what we are used to and incorporate new things - what other message are you conveying with this CD?

There are a number of different messages . In the song, 'love rain down'.  I believe 'love rain down' is number 5 on that album and we have a video for that song.  The video is an animated video, you never see our faces, it tells the story of a little boy who goes down to the cross roads, that's the place known in the Blues culture, where Robert Johnson (famous blues musician) sold his soul to the devil to get his skills.  He goes to the devil and he doesn't ask for anything, he just sings the song - love rain down why don't you heal me now.  The devil looks at him and asks him what he wants from him. The boy says he doesn't want anything.  The devil is getting scared now and he starts to feel afraid  but when you watch the video - you see the story unfold, you see little Johnny walk in.  You see the sunglasses and the evil dogs, and then you see the flash back of Johnny's life.  What would motivate a little boy to stand up to the greatest evil?  The message is that sometimes, the most innocent amongst us can have the strength to stand up to the greatest evil.  We can do that with the power of love and the power of our voices.  So it is a metaphor.  It is part of the message that we want to put up there especially in this world where there are so many things going on that are so challenging.
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We have  a song called 'Another Day', and it goes "another day, who gonna help us clean up the yard.  Another bill to pay, who gonna help us clean up the yard.  Another, penny for your vote who gonna help us clean up the yard, there comes a man with evil charm, and I can promise you tomorrow and you stand in sinking sand and hope tomorrow's come...".
There is a power in we the people and we need to be prepared to exercise it, I don't want someone out there giving me false promises and  I am willing to live and thrive against all odds.  In the song, we call ourselves Afropolitans because we are people of the globe who are rooted in an African culture.  Africa has seen so many challenges so we believe we are uniquely positioned to overcome all difficulties.

Visit For More On Derrick, Soulfege, The CD, Afropolitanism

What word of advice will you give young people that want to be like you?

Identify what you want to achieve.  Be open and honest with it about yourself and about the people around you.  Find out what you need to accomplish it.  A lot of people have big dreams but they actually do not know what they need to do to achieve it.  Find out what you want to do.  Learn what it takes to do it.  Identify people who are interested in doing the same things. Learn from them and cultivate all of them and as you grow in your own knowledge and your own understanding, so will you grow in the realization of your dream.  It doesn't mean that the road will be easy, it doesn't mean that the road will be steady. You still have to believe that you can't do it alone.  Everyone succeeds as parts of a community.  Find those who believe in you and your dream and learn from them.


Soulfege will be In New York on THU 2/9
85 Avenue A (btw 5th &amp; 6th St.)

To Download the CD for free -please visit In the first week, a couple of tens of thousands were downloaded..we can get it to a million downloads.  You know I call it as I see it, I give this CD an A.  It is simply eclectic.

To listen to the interview, please visit

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