Backyard Band Brings Go-Go to West Africa

Anwan Glover
Anwan Glover speaks to a crowd in Ghana.

D.C.’s renowned go-go band Backyard Band completed its first West African tour to Ghana, titled “BACK2Africa.”

Hosted by the Ghana Tourism Authority and promoted by Diallo Sumbry, leader of the Adinkra Group, the two-week tour included visits to local schools and cultural centers, performances with local musicians, television and radio appearances. From Feb. 26 – March 5, they spread the famous D.C. go-go sound.

“I’ve been going to the go-go as a fan for at least 15 or 20 years,” Sumbry said. “I grew up playing West African drums from the time that I was 3 years old. I always had an orientation that all music can fit inside of African music in the same way that all people are from Africa.”

With three concerts in tow, the tour was modeled on the Adinkra Group’s Birthright Journeys, an annual series of trips designed to facilitate a connection to Africa through cultural immersion.

Backyard Band
Backyard Band poses together in Ghana.

Producer and director J. Kevin Swain was enlisted to handle the production of a documentary that will chronicle the band’s experiences.

Anwan Glover, aka Big G, has maintained his role as the leader of Backyard Band and his roots in D.C. despite achieving success in Hollywood with roles in several dramas and movies including HBO’s “The Wire,” “The Deuce” and Golden Globe winner “12 Years a Slave.”

“It was always a dream to go to Africa as a kid,” Glover said. “Once you get to see the documentary you will see how the people there accepted us with open arms, they danced, they partied. It was an experience that you have to see and feel because it was amazing.”

“Weensy,” Backyard Band’s lead singer agreed about the fantastic reception.

“They really got down with it,” he said. “It was like a party at home.”

The release date for the upcoming documentary will be announced soon.

For more information about Birthright trips, go to theadinkragroup.com.

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