Music is a language that transcends all barriers. People who have never met can appreciate genres they have in common along with legendary artists. Music helps people overcome sadness, invokes relaxation and if you’re lucky set the “mood” =). Not just anyone is capable of creating the harmonies notes that makes feet move and hips shake. Only a talented few that have invested tons of hours into their craft can earn the rewarding experience of encores and crowd compliments.
Fortunately I was privileged to meet a few of these artists. Gudah and the NDOA band performed at the annual duke energy advocates for African Americans recognition dinner. Their performance provided a calming and mellow atmosphere. There musical vibes made heads turn and feet move. With a wide selection of genres at their disposal, I had the pleasure of experiencing top selections ranging from jazz to pop. Each was more riveting than the next and left guests anxious for more.
But who are these amazing mystery artists you may ask? Well no worries I made sure to grab enough information to dismiss all, well, some of your questions.Based out of Charlotte NC, the artists responsible for these phenomenal rhythms are, Gudah and the Ndoa players. Consisting of Gudah as lead guitarist, Akiliah Johnson on bass, Kenneth Dillard on drums, and Khemut Shaku on keyboard. You may be asking why they choose the name NDOA? Well, do not worry I made sure to find out. The word stems from Swahili and means marriage.
Gudah states “this name was chosen because marriage is absolutely beautiful and creates a foundation for generations to come. That’s how I see my music with the musicians in my band. you just don’t marry any person. You create that special bond between musicians and a union is formed, creating music and building foundations of true music for generations to come”. This name certainly fits the bands musical capabilities. Each artist performed flawlessly with the next despite the pressure of nearly 300 viewers.
Starting at the age of 5, Gudah is no stranger to the guitar. With less than 2 years of guitar lessons, she began playing in church. Being the youngest of 8 children, all consisting of older brothers, Gudah was constantly competing and striving to surpass them. Therefore In addition to the guitar, she learned to play the trumpet, piano, drums, bass guitar and baritone.
Prior to performing with NDOA she played with several bands and churches in Charlotte NC. Unfortunately, she left the music scene as a result of discrimination against female guitarist. But, overcoming these setbacks and disappointments has fine tuned this amazing artist resulting in the polished product standing before you today.
After a sabbatical, her husband observed her passion and love for music, even when she felt it was gone. He made every effort possible to help reignite the musical flame. She states, “I cried out to God, please do not let my gifts and talents go to waste. Please help me find my love for music once more”. Through dedication, daily practice and inspiration from fellow artists, I can say I stepped out on faith and started my own band, Ndoa.
Observing her performance and understanding her history only increased my respect for this artist. With each stroke the guitar sang only to be followed by a shimmer as the camera flashed. Each song, stroke and note made their presence more evident.
Guests gradually shifted from the events entrance closer to the bands location. The music being produced was magnetic almost impossible to resist. Even individuals that opposed their selections may have found it difficult to prevent their body from moving to the phenomenal rhythms.
I cannot wait to hear another one of their performances. With each practice more songs are added to their repertoire further increasing the list of pleasant selections. They are constantly striving to better themselves resulting in greater performances and more masterpieces for our listening pleasures.