Ashé Records was born in June of 2012 with an Individual Artist grant that Teague was awarded through the Rasmuson Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska. He put this together with some of his own money, created a recording studio in his second bedroom at home, and began to record the first album he'd been dreaming about since he was a kid. Ashé is the Yoruba term for the energy of creation, the spark of life. Teague used to perform in two African-drum and dance companies in two different times in his life. The first time he became a djembé and djun djun player for Visions of Peace out of Petoskey, Michigan, where he learned "Fanga," a Liberian-village welcoming song where the refrain includes the repeating word, Ashé. When Teague moved to Marquette, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula for graduate school, he joined another African-drum and dance company, Log Jam, where he brought "Fanga" to them to sing, play, and perform. One night during their regular Tuesday-night gathering, church as they liked to call it, they were in the middle of the "Fanga" refrain, singing "Ashé Ashé" when a man from Liberia walked in. This would be the first time Teague would meet Horatio, and from then on, Horatio always called Teague, "Ashé!" Ashé is now the spark of Teague's Record Label, which embodies the heart of music, that spark of creation that keeps us returning back for more.
Teague is in the middle of recording, mixing, and producing three albums at the moment. The first is a self-titled Americana album of Teague's original songs performed by his band in Ketchikan, Alaska. The second album--In Alaska--is an acoustic instrumental of his longtime friend, Jeff Noftz's original compositions that Teague recorded over a span of a few years whenever Jeff flew out from Michigan to visit Teague in Alaska. The third album--It Aint The Guitar, Lady--is a rhythm-and-melody instrumental of the Whalen & Noftz Duo, where Jeff plays original rhythms over which Teague plays improvisational leads.
Here's an improvisational "Two-Chord Jam" video of Teague and his band. From left to right: Rafe Long, Teague Whalen, John Long, Dan Leask, and Bill Ayers.
This is a taste of Jeff Noftz's title track, "In Alaska":