|Within a year of forming the duo, Likho Duo has released its debut instrumental album, “Blues And The World Beyond.” The six original tunes intertwined with eight standards acoustically arranged were recorded in two days earlier this year at Thump Recording in Brooklyn, NY.
Likho Duo was formed in the fall of 2016 by Italian guitar and harmonica player Noé Socha and upright bass player Cliff Schmitt. They are an acoustic group and their repertoire consists of blues standards, original music, and a couple of traditional Italian songs. They perform regularly in New York City at venues such as Pete’s Candy Store, Terra Blues, Precious Metal, The Bitter End, Barbes, & Hometown B.
Noé Socha, 26, is a guitar and harmonica player from the small town of Carpi, Italy, who now resides in NYC. Noé began his studies at Conservatorio Vecchi Tonelli in Italy at age seven, where it was discovered he had perfect pitch. He was classically trained on xylophone, piano, cello and guitar. At age 12, at another private music school, Musicology, a guitar teacher introduced him to blues music by teaching him ‘Sweet Home Chicago.’ Noé liked it so much he had his Dad get him every blues record he could find. In 2004 Italian newspaper La Repubblica released a series of six blues CDs and that led Noé to discover many blues artists. Influenced by artists such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young, and blues musicians Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Noé has created his own signature sound. He pairs a fiery guitar technique with virtuoso harmonica playing, channeling the sounds of the Mississippi Delta with a touch of Hendrix-esque flavor.
Noé is a graduate from Berklee College of Music on scholarship and has received many awards including the ”Jimi Hendrix Award” for the college’s leading guitarist and the “Billboard Magazine Endowed Scholarship” presented to the college’s top student. Noé was also mentioned in Rolling Stone about his standout performance at the Berklee Commencement Concert honoring Willie Nelson’s career. Noé has had the great honor of performing and recording with Nona Hendrix (Labelle), Vernon Reid (Living Color), and multi-Grammy winner Javier Limón, and has also toured extensively with Grammy award-winning artist Paula Cole.
Cliff Schmitt, 46, started playing cello at age 12, then switched to electric bass at 15, and started playing upright bass at 18. He attended the University of North Texas studying Jazz and Classical music. His introduction to the blues was through his father’s record collection. “Some of my earliest memories are of listening to Eric Clapton on 8-track in my father’s van,” says Cliff. “My dad had mostly blues rock records, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Bob Seger. When I was a teenager, radio stations in Texas started playing Stevie Ray Vaughn, so when I started playing electric bass at 15 my band was performing a lot of SRV covers.” When he was in college he worked for an R&B singer named Al “TNT” Braggs, who had written songs for Bobby Bland and Aretha Franklin. This was his first real professional gig.
Cliff Schmitt has been based in NYC for the last twenty years and has toured the world with Blues Music Award nominee, Michael Powers, as well as jazz singer Curtis Stigers. Cliff is the house bassist at Terra Blues in NYC, where he performs regularly with some of the best blues artists the world has to offer.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
Noé is legally blind. He does have extremely limited vision in one eye and can see shapes and colors if it is not too bright or dark out. Cliff has a vision issue in one eye, so between the two of them they have one good eye. Like a cyclops. But that would be too obvious, so they decided to use the name of a lesser known one-eyed monster.
Likho, liho (Russian: Лихо, Belarusian: лі́ха, Polish: licho) is an embodiment of evil fate and misfortune in Slavic mythology, a creature with one eye, often depicted as an old, skinny woman in black (Лихо одноглазое, One-eyed Likho) or as an evil male goblin of forests.
Leek-Ho, Noé like No-a, Socha— So-Ha
BLUES AND THE WORLD BEYOND
AUGUST 29, 2017