Blog March 5, 2020
Hear Dogo du Togo's Voodoo Melodies and Gazo Rhythm

In honor of this week's program, “The Voodoo To Go Festival,” take a trip to where vaudou originated, in Togo.

Serge “Massama” Dogo leads the Washington D.C.-based band Elikeh, but he's never been shy about celebrating his home country in West Africa. The video for his newly released song “Obligation” takes Dogo and his band on a bus trip through Togo, from soccer games to bustling motorcycle traffic to, in a few clips, a vaudou ceremony.

Originating in the Dahomey Kingdom between Togo and Benin, and now called vaudou, vodun or voodoo depending on where you are, the West African religion spread through Haiti, Cuba, Brazil and the United States in the 16th century by way of slavery.

Music is an essential component of the vaudou ceremonies, leading participants into the trance, and Dogo describes “Obligation” as voodoo melodies set over a Gazo rhythm from the nearby Volta region.

The song's lyrics call for unity for Togo, which Dogo calls too small a nation to be so divided. Tying together disparate rhythm and melody is a pretty neat unity of composition and lyrics.

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