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Donkilo! Afro Funk Orkestra at the Lucky Dog

By Lauren Farnham
On February 25, 2011

 

"The small eastern state of New Hampshire: long ago part of the African continental plate before its gradual drift away from the mother land millions of years ago...and now, home to the Donkilo! Afro Funk Orkestra," exclaims the newest band to play at the Lucky Dog Tavern & Grill next Fri. Feb. 25, at 10 p.m..

Donkilo! Afro Funk Orkestra hails from New Hampshire and features electric instruments such as the electric bass and grooving drums. Something unique about Donkilo! is that they use traditional Mande, or African instruments like the fula flute, djembe and the ten string kamale ngoni. 

These unique instruments are generally not found in N.H., let alone the rest of the US. The fula flute originated in the Fouta Djalon highlands of Guinea. This flute is a little-known instrument outside West Africa "where it is revered for the profound effect it has on listeners, often bringing them to tears with its haunting sounds and melodies that reach deep inside one's soul," according to the band's wesbite. The fula is made from a vine, which features a rectangular mouth piece with two large wings on each side of it. There are three finger holes that produce a full diatonic scale of 1 1/2 octaves. 

The djembe is a large, skin covered hand drum which is shaped like a large goblet. The drum's name, according to the people of Mali, literally translates to "everyone gather together." The purpose of the drum has always been fundamentally based around bringing different  people together.

The ten string kamala ngoni or "young man's harp," was invented in the 1960s. Tuned a quarter higher than other instruments, the ngoni is made of calabash, a type of gourd, and has goat skin stretched over it. The instrument is used often in ceremonies and is used to play music really fast. 

Donkilo!'s members include Jared Steer on drums, Dave Kobrenski on the fula flute, djembi and kamale ngoni, Mike Rossi on bass, Jim Dozet on guitar and featuring Nick Mainella and Matt Lanley on the tenor sax. 

"Donkilo" literally means, "a call to dance", and that's exactly what this funk band plans to make you do. Donkilo! creates a unique and fresh sound that blends jazz, Wassolou music from Mali, Nigerian Afro Funk from the 70s and funk music, of course. If you want a preview before Friday night check out their website, Afrofunknh.com, where some of Donkilo!'s songs can be previewed and downloaded. 

Tonight, let's get ready to dance!


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