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When most people hear the words hip hop and rock, the first thing that comes to mind is The Roots. Since October of 2009, Elenora Fagan has taken this hybrid in a completely different direction. “But Elenora Fagan is different; the group defines itself by the wider diversity of its rhythms and riffs. While the drums drive the beat, the bass may bring forth reggae vibes as the guitarist sprinkles single-note jazz textures. It's a smarter version of rap-rock, whose crossover appeal defies those two genres alone.” (Jeff Hanhe CL Nov ‘12) The band, which consists of Jevon Washington (guitar), Matt Wood (drums), Juan Ossa (Bass) and Jahmaar Stafford (vocals) would be best described as, “an alternative, hip hop band with elements of reggae and jazz. “Our biggest influences are probably Rage Against The Machine, The Roots, Outkast and The Red Hot Chili Peppers,” says Wood.
- Jevon is the technical guitar savant, a throwback to early guitar entertainers. On any given night you’d see him playing behind his back or with his teeth. Some nights it seems as if he is channeling Jimi Hendrix, himself, while incorporating jazz, reggae and blues elements. He’s been influenced more by genres than specific artists.
- Matt is a versatile drummer molded by the greats. He lists Danny Carey, Jose Pasillas, Carter Beauford, Sam Loeffler and Abe Cunningham as his influences. He can play anything from jazz, to rock, hip hop to reggae. He is also a huge fan of Tool.
- Growing up in Colombia, South America, Juan gravitated towards world music. “I love the deep quality of old reggae but equally enjoy the intensity of punk or the grooves of funk. As a side not, Juan is a big fan of Joy Division.
- Jahmaar credits everyone from Bad Brains, Scarface, Gil Scott Heron, Bob Dylan and Daniel Johnston as his idols. “I love lyrics and singer-songwriters. I believe music is meant to heal people. I like to think, in some cases, I speak for those who have no voice or have yet to find their own.” His ritual before every show is to listen to Fela Kuti all day.
With the ability to transcend genres, Elenora’s been able to move crowds, from the grungy punk rock fan, to the hard core or underground hip listener. They are regulars at The World Famous Milestone and The Chop Shop, sharing the stage with whoever is on the bill for the night. They’ve also headlined Amos’ Southend, Salvador’s Deli, Snug Harbor, even a Neo-Soul set for Radio Rehab at The Neighborhood Theater, in Charlotte’s NoDa district. “Elenora Fagan is a band that definitely demands the crowd’s attention. You never know what to expect.” (Lonni B, promoter)
In October of 2011, the band released its self-titled (self-funded) debut album, with former member Currin Hightower. Elenora Fagan packed The Chop Shop for its release. The album is available on iTunes, amazon, and CD Baby. 2011 also saw the band’s first entries into Battle of The Bands. They went 2 for 2, winning both the Boardwalk Billie’s and Cabarrus County competitions. Between 2011 and 2012, Elenora Fagan played 5 music festivals. The Ice Cream Festival and The Battle Slam Jam, both in Charlotte, NC, were an opportunity to pick up local fans and were played on the same day. The next 2 festivals gave Elenora a chance to take their high energy stage show to 2 different states. The WSBF Spring Music Festival, held in Clemson, SC and the Folkfest; held in Roanoke, VA exposed the band to the college audience and college radio. The most recent festival they’ve played was the Infest tour, held in Cabarrus County, NC.