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Q&A with JosaFeen Wells of E.D. Sedgwick and N’Digo Rose & the Nekkid UndastandN

photo courtesy of E.D. Sedgwick

This Saturday sees the convergence of two types of DC music in one place – longtime DC dance-punk favorite E.D. Sedgwick is playing with longtime DC soul favorites N’Digo Rose & the Nekkid UndastandN, at Ras Restaurant & Lounge on Georgia Avenue.

What seems like two groups from divergent genres actually have something in common.  JosaFeen Wells sings for both, and will be performing with both bands Saturday night.  She is also the one who put together the show, through her company Elliott Entertainment and Consulting Group, LLC, in what she hopes will be the first of many affordable showcases for local music.  She calls this go-around “Enter the Artmosphere Vol. I”.

E.D. Sedgwick is a four-piece band led by Dischord and Touch & Go records veteran Justin Moyer, whose previous band Supersystem helped put DC on the dance-punk map back in the Oughts when that music was a big thing in indie-rock-land, alongside acts like the Rapture, !!! and  LCD Soundsystem.   While Moyer has been performing under the E.D. Sedgwick name for many years now, with several CDs under his belt, his sound only in the last few years has taken its current shape, evolving from Moyer alone in the studio and on-stage (in drag with an iPod), to a four-piece, with jagged guitar bursts, rhythmic percussion rounded out by his unique speak/singing vocals and lyrics, interacting tightly with Wells’ up-front gospel/r&b inflected singing.  The E.D. Sedgwick live show is one of the funnest shows you might see in this city.  And it works on their recordings too, as Moyer is a master engineer – the last one, Love Gets Lovelier Every Day is a fine example of the current sound, and the next one, which is coming out in November on Dischord, should be even better.

N’Digo Rose & the Nekkid UndastandN is led by keyboardist/crooner Tony Hicks, whose 70s-influenced soul/R&B was a mainstay in U Street clubs, back when there were more clubs featuring local soul music, like Kaffa House, State of the Union and Metro Cafe.  Hicks’ vocals invoke a classic 70s style – think Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions – but his production is one of headphone-worthy atmospherics and texture.  Throw in a live show that has three backup singers, including Wells, and the house may come down Saturday with something as heart-felt and authentic as you would want from your local soul.

Hicks is reuniting with JoseFeen Wells and his two other singers from that period, Ginger Bleu and Deborah Bond, who is a well-known soloist in her own right.  Bond will be DJ-ing as well on Saturday.

As the organizer and nexus for a show that should be as diverse at it is funky, JosaFeen Wells is proud of her roster for this Saturday’s show, and proud to be singing in both.  Her roots are in the gospel church-singing of her childhood.  She is also a veteran of DC’s Go-Go scene, having performed with Lil Benny and the Go-Go All-Stars, Potential Groovers and Untouch.  She was also in a three-girl singing group that made it to Showtime at the Apollo, and, as Carla Elliott, she recorded vocals for some dance tracks for Rich Morel‘s “Pink Noise” project, that were unreleased.  While she was working as a singer for N’Digo Rose & Nekkid UndastandN, she met Justin Moyer, who was doing work with them as an engineer, and later joined E.D. Sedgwick. Continue reading