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Gonjasufi in Budapest, Hungary, 2011.
Background information
Birth name Sumach Ecks
Also known as Sumach Valentine,
Origin San Diego, California, United States
Genres Experimental, lo-fi, alternative hip hop, psychedelic rock, trip hop, dub
Occupation(s) Vocalist, producer, DJ, actor, yoga teacher
Instruments vocals, turntables
Years active 1990s–present
Labels Warp, A.I.R., Hit + Run
Associated acts Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer
Website www.sufisays.com

Sumach Ecks[1] (born 1978),[2] better known by his stage name Gonjasufi, is an American vocalist, producer, disc jockey, actor and yoga teacher.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Ecks was born in 1978 to a Mexican mother and an American-Ethiopian father.[1] He spent his formative years in Chula Vista, California.[4]

Ecks got involved early on in the arts, playing Helios the Sun God in the opera Persephone.[5]

In the early 1990s, he began releasing music within the San Diego hip hop scene; notably with the Masters of the Universe crew.[6][7] Touring under the stage names Sumach Valentine and Randy Johnson,[6] his first band was called Plant Lyphe.[5]

Ecks gained notice from Warp Records in 2008 after an appearance on Californian musician Flying Lotus' album Los Angeles, on which he sings on the track "Testament".[7] His Warp debut album, A Sufi and a Killer, was released March 8, 2010.[8]

Ecks' voice has been described by Pitchfork Media as "a scraggly, scary, smoked-out croak that creeps like the spiritual offspring of George Clinton and Lead Belly".[7] He attributes his singing style to his day job teaching yoga, where he was forced to learn how to "project from [his] stomach more".[7] His music is largely experimental, fusing urban beats with psychedelic flourishes.[9][10]

Besides singing and rapping,[11] Ecks also serves as a producer,[12] DJ,[13] actor,[14] and yoga teacher.[4]


Studio albums[edit]

Remix albums[edit]

  • The Caliph's Tea Party (2010)


  • The Ninth Inning EP (2011)
  • Untitled (2013) (split with Ras G)


  • "Holidays" b/w "Candylane" (2009)
  • "Kowboyz&Indians" b/w "My Only Friend" (2010)
  • "Kobwebz" b/w "Speaketh" (2010)
  • "Nickels and Dimes" (2010)
  • "Ninth Inning" (2011)
  • "The Blame" (2012)

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Flying Lotus – "Testament" from Los Angeles (2008)
  • The Gaslamp Killer – "I'm in Awe" from Death Gate (2010)
  • Humansuit – "Lawnmower Man" from Humansuit (2012)
  • The Gaslamp Killer – "Veins" and "Apparitions" from Breakthrough (2012)
  • Old English – "The Omen" from Band in Amerikkka (2013)
  • Perera Elsewhere – "Giddy" from Everlast (2013)
  • Awol One & Gel Roc – "Flight" from The Cloaks (2014)
  • Dag Savage – "Bad Trip" from E & J (2014)
  • The Bug – "Save Me" from Angels & Devils (2014)


  1. ^ a b Meer, Malik (March 6, 2010). "Gonjasufi – the electro Hendrix". The Guardian. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ Green, Thomas H. (January 14, 2012). "theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Gonjasufi". The Arts Desk. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  3. ^ SDR - Gonjasufi Extended Interview
  4. ^ a b Deal, Chad (January 20, 2012). "Gonjasufi Extended Interview". San Diego Reader. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Gimme5 Interview: Gonjasufi Archived March 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b Lymangrover, Jason. "Gonjasufi Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d Dombal, Ryan (February 25, 2010). "Rising: Gonjasufi". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  8. ^ Hogwood, Ben (March 8, 2010). "Gonjasufi – A Sufi And A Killer". MusicOMH. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ Dacks, David (May 13, 2010). "Gonjasufi: A Sufi And A Killer". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ Fantano, Anthony (June 8, 2010). "Gonjasufi: Musings Of A Hip-Hop Mystic". NPR. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  11. ^ Olshevski, Andrew (November 2, 2011). "New Mini-Album From Gonjasufi". CMJ. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  12. ^ Roberts, Randall (February 21, 2012). "Video premiere: Gonjasufi roams downtown L.A.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  13. ^ Pressman, Joshua (March 15, 2010). "Tonight In Rock: She & Him, Gonjasufi, Moonrats, The Delta Mirror". LAist. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Cure star legally changes his name as he leaves the music world for art". Hollywood.com. March 15, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 

External links[edit]