The JoGo Project is a WAMMIE Award winning Jazz and Go-Go fusion band from Washington, DC founded in 2014 by DC Native Elijah Jamal Balbed, who performed with the late, great Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown. Elijah played in Chuck's band from May of 2011 until Mr. Brown's passing the following year. Elijah's last gig with Chuck was in February 2012 and the last few songs were recorded on a camera phone from the audience. A few years later, Elijah was accepted into the Artist-in-Residence program at Strathmore and decided it was time to start a band to continue Chuck's legacy and bring his Jazz and Go-Go worlds together.
Nine years later, The JoGo Project has become a mainstay in the DC music community and is dedicated as ever to keeping DC's Go-Go music alive while also exploring new sounds and repertoire. Over the years, the band has written several original songs such as "One For Pops", "DC's Been Good To Me", "Dear Draylen", "Too Loud!", as well as several original arrangements such as "Poinciana", "Wait in Vain" and the theme from Mario Brothers. In 2017, JoGo Project was commissioned to write 3 original works that were featured in the video game Tom Clancy's The Division 2.
JoGo has performed at many notable DC area venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Theatre, Strathmore, Fort Dupont and DC Jazz Festival. The band has also branched outside of the DMV with performances at Club Bonafide (NYC), Silvana (NYC), Beyu Caffe (Durham, NC), and The Vagabond (Richmond, VA). In 2018 the band went on a cultural diplomacy tour to 3 cities in Russia (Moscow, Orenburg, and Yekaterinburg) on behalf of the U.S. State Department, where the musicians conducted educational masterclasses, participated in radio interviews, and did performances ranging from intimate Jazz clubs to massive concert halls. In 2019, the band won the WAMMIE Award in the category of Best Go-Go Song for "Dear Draylen" composed by Elijah, with lyrics by JusPaul Spires and featured artist Wes Felton. In 2020, the band released their debut holiday track "JoGo Christmas" featuring Go-Go legend Sugar Bear. Since June of 2021, JoGo has maintained a monthly residency Keystone Korner, a historic venue where the likes of Grover Washington and Patrice Rushen have performed. Most recently, Elijah was included in a published book called "DC Go-Go: Ten Years Backstage" by Chip Py - Chuck Brown's official photographer.
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