Burning Spear News
Elikya Ngoma releases Freedom in the Mix, a truly African Internationalist album
Elikya is a multi-instrumentalist. She plays many instruments, including bass guitar and the ukulele
On December 25, 2020, Elikya Ngoma released Freedom in the Mix, an eight-track extended play album. Freedom in the Mix is an African Internationalist album in its highest form.
African Internationalism is the theory and practice of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and the Uhuru Movement. It is the revolutionary theory of the African working class. Chairman Omali Yeshitela, founder of the Uhuru Movement, is the architect of African Internationalism.
African Internationalism is a dialectical materialist ideology that argues that everything in the world must be understood based on the examination of real, concrete conditions and phenomena.
In Freedom in the Mix, Elikya Ngoma moves from the U.S. South to Haiti. Throughout the album, Elikya Ngoma also moves through a variety of African musical genres.
“Liberate the Minds'', a track that features the words of Marcus Garvey, features Soca music. “Pa Di m Ayiti Pòv!” which translates to “Don’t Tell Me Haiti Is Poor” is performed in the Konpa music of Haiti.
“Get Up and Do Something” is a gospel song that features the voice of Fannie Lou Hamer, the civil rights leader from Mississippi. Unknown to many, Fannie Lou Hamer was also an amazing Gospel singer and her song “Go Tell It On The Mountain” can be found on the compilation Voices of the Civil Rights Movement. Freedom in the Mix embodies Elikya Ngoma’s political journey. Elikya Ngoma was born in the U.S. South to a musical family from Haiti. Just like Fannie Lou Hamer, Elikya Ngoma is an African liberation freedom fighter.
Who is Elikya Ngoma?
Elikya Ngoma is a member of the African People’s Socialist Party. In one of her many roles, she serves as the Haiti editor for The Burning Spear newspaper. In her monthly pieces, Elikya brings revolutionary analysis to the struggles in Haiti.
Elikya is also the Administrative Assistant for Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Secretary of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. It is under Chairman Omali Yeshtiela’s leadership that she has created certain musical projects such as the African Nation Fight Song.
Elikya joined the African People’s Socialist Party in 2016 after she had volunteered to build the African People’s Socialist Party’s 2016 Plenary under the leadership of Gaida Kambon, veteran of the Party and the APSP Secretary General at that time.
Elikya notes that two observations won her to membership. First, unlike other groups, the Party did not disregard Haiti and the struggles of Africans from Haiti. Second, the plethora of organizations revealed the multiple arenas of struggle in which the Party was engaged.
Give Ngoma some — Give the drummer some!
Elikya was born in Miami and descends from musicians on both sides of her family. Elikya learned to play the piano at age five and began singing and rapping at age 12.
In Haiti, her family name is Angomar. As a child, teachers from the Continent would always ask about her name and whether she was African.
In the general sense, Elikya would confirm that she was indeed African but she never had a solid answer until she had attended an African naming ceremony conducted by African Socialist International (ASI) Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa.
SG Luwezi stated that Ngoma was one of his favorite names, because it was one of the most common names throughout the Continent, and Elikya recognized it as her own name.
After the ceremony, Elikya approached SG Luwezi and shared her family name. SG Luwezi noted that Angomar was indeed a variation of the name Ngoma and one of the African names that had survived colonial slavery. Ngoma is one of the most widespread names and words in Africa. Ngoma means drum, the drummer, song, dance, and other musical and spiritual references.
Upon receiving her African name, Elikya was given the name Elikya Bwanya Ngoma meaning wise, conscious musician that brings hope.
Elikya is the musical voice of the African Nation. She performed with the Freedom Mass Choir and Band, penned the African Nation Fight Song and created the theme music for the political study “#OmaliTaughtMe” as well as the theme song for The People’s War Radio Show, “Colonial Virus.”
Freedom in the Mix
Freedom in the Mix represents a victory in The People’s War Against the Colonial Virus. The People’s War Campaign challenged members of the movement to take up new tasks and learn new skills to turn a period of imperialist crisis into a victory for African people. Elikya taught herself to mix and master music.
The aforementioned “Get Up and Do Something” demands African people eschew philosophical idealism and embrace philosophical materialist struggle. Fannie Lou Hamer states: “You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.”
The second track “Sa Fè Kèk Tan...” translates to “It’s Been Some Time...” In this track, Gessica Généus, filmmaker and actress from Haiti, makes a call for the “Haitian” diaspora in the United States and abroad to get involved with the struggle of the people in Haiti during the 2018-2019 mass resistance condemning the Haiti government’s waste of the Petro Caribe funds instead of turning away.
Many African families in Haiti are sustained by their family members who have moved around the world. Généus speaks to these family members and says “it’s been some time that you have not been working for what you think you’re working for.”
She says, in Kreyol (Haitian Creole), “I’m going to tell you something: you in the diaspora that’s sending money for your children to go to school, it’s been some time that their schools have been on the streets and the DJs have been their teachers. Nothing will change. We have to stand up!”
On the third track, “Make the Struggle”, Ella Baker tells a story about how she punched a white boy who called her “nigger” but learned that hitting one person was not enough. Africans needed to organize for their freedom.
On the fourth track, “Liberate the Minds”, Marcus Garvey articulates the importance of what Chairman Omali calls the war of ideas. Garvey states that if you “liberate the minds of men, then ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.”
Tracks five, six and seven are odes to Ayiti. “Lanmou Pou Ayiti” translates to “Love for Ayiti,” where Généus asks “what kind of love do you have for Haiti?” She describes “love for Haiti” as “the love the children in the streets never recieve: access to someone who will take care of them, ensure they are in school, ensure they can eat, ensure there is a structure that everyone has access to, without discrimination... We have to fight the system, not each other.”
“Pa Di m Ayiti Pov!” means “Do not tell me Ayiti is poor” and comes from Elikya’s anticolonial statement, particularly to white nationalist media, saying “do not tell me Haiti is poor unless you tell me why it is poor.” Track seven is a remix of “Sa Fè Kèk Tan...”
The final track, “Freedom in the Mix” combines elements of all the other tracks in an expression of African unity.
All of the featured voices come together to say “You can pray until you faint/we have to stand up/It takes organization/And with people becoming conscious of themselves, determined to use their minds, you do not know to what extent they can do. Actually, that’s what we need/Nothing exists without a plan/We have to stand up!” The album ends with a last word from Elikya saying “Uhuru!...in the Mix!”
After every event and action, African Internationalists always conduct summations designed to assess victories and contradictions and point the way forward. “Freedom in the Mix” is a summation of the album and the times it was produced in.
Elikya is calling for organization, anticolonial resistance, and revolutionary cultural work that uplifts the African nation, taking intellectual production from the hands of the colonizers and African petty bourgeoisie and placing it in the hands of the African working class.
The way forward
Freedom in the Mix can be found on YouTube, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. At elikyangoma.bandcamp.com, listeners can download the album for whatever price they are willing, or able, to pay.
Freedom in the Mix is a call for African cultural workers to join the African revolution. It boldly claims all those musical traditions as African music. Regardless of the genre, it can be a tool for liberation.
Most progressive African music reflects the struggles. Freedom in the Mix applies African Internationalism to music production and points the way forward.
We need more African musicians and cultural workers to join the struggle.
Rebuild the Freedom Mass Choir and Band!
Give Ngoma Some!