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 Bar Tabac, Terra Blues, Precious Metal, The Bitter End, Barbes and Hometown BBQ. Their first release, “Blues and The World Beyond”, peaked at number two in the Roots Music Report Acoustic Blues category, and was also nominated in the Instrumental Album category for the Independent Music Awards. In January 2018 they were the only instrumental group to reach the International Blues Challenge Semi-Finals in Memphis.
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. In 2018 he was featured on a Mastercard Grammy Commercial along side Sza and 5 other artists.
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 R&B singer 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. best blues artists the world has to offer..
Wow what a revelation this album is. I started to listen to it and stopped because l realized l was missing some of the elements of the tracks, so l put a pair of headphones on and started again. Wow, wow, wow now l was in heaven! These two maestros are amazing musicians to say the least. The complexity of their playing, the phrasing and charts are brilliant to say the least. This is a seriously good album and one l must admit l had dismissed at first because it is a instrumental album. I like instrumentals but not a lot end on end, but that is until now. This album has changed all of that. Yep, l loved it. I can tell you that it will get some good airplay here. -- Peter Merrett PBS106.7, Melbourne, Australia
This CD represents the legally blind Italian acoustic guitarist and rack harmonica player Noé Socha, who now lives in New York and the bass player Cliff Schmitt. The tracks are all instrumentals and contain some very impressive rack harmonica playing, especially when Noé plays in unison with his guitar licks. Much of the material is blues based, drawing on the likes of Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson I and others, Led Zepplin, European pop music of the 60s, and a little bossa nova and jazz. It all makes for an extremely listenable and enjoyable release. -- Harmonica World Magazine
Outside of jazz and classical, few exclusively instrumental albums come across this desk. This is one of them and from the unlikely blues genre. It’s difficult to recall any blues record shy vocals. The Likho Duo are an equally improbable pair of musicians. Noé Socha on guitar and harmonica is a 20-something Italian. Cliff Schmitt is a product of the University of North Texas, a generation older and plays doghouse bass. They came together as a duo only a year ago in New York City. Both have significant visual impairment. The Likho name is taken from a wicked one-eyed forest gnome in Slavic mythology and Socha and Schmitt play their music wicked good. Likho Duo have reached out to the world with blues that would be welcome anywhere. -- Doug Hill, The Norman Transcript
- Blues and the World Beyond (2017)
Independent Music Awards:
- Nominee for Instrumental Album - Blues and the World Beyond (2018)
Interntational Blues Challenge:
- Semi-Finalists (2018)