Go-Go is an indigenous music native to DC that originated in the 60’s and 70’s. Considered a subgenre of funk and made famous by the Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown, Go-Go music is characterized and underscored by its heavy percussive nature and drive; and its emphasis on live audience call and response. Go-Go can be viewed as a blend of funk, rhythm and blues, hip-hop and new age swing. To most native Washingtonians and Go-Go lovers, it’s just Go-Go, the heartbeat of the city. Its energy is undeniable and pervasive. Its African roots are evident, overarching and foundational in the music and spirit it carries.
BACK2Africa is a performance tour and documentary film that follows the Washington DC based Go-Go Band – The Backyard Band – on a journey from Washington, DC to Ghana, West Africa to connect with their ancestral roots through music. Go-Go music mirrors the characteristics of most of the traditional and contemporary music in Ghana and throughout West Africa with a heavy percussive nature and emphasis on live audience call and response. It’s no coincidence that Washington, DC and Ghana, West Africa are sister cities. BACK2Africa further connects the dots laid out on May 8, 2006 in the Historic Sister City Agreement between Washington, DC and the City of Accra, Ghana as an artistic cultural exchange with DC’s Cultural ambassador - Go-Go Music.
Throughout the journey, the band will meet and collaborate with local musicians, visit local schools and cultural centers, appear on national TV, National Radio and play 3 concerts. Accra will get the full Go-Go experience and Go-Go will resonate throughout the country. Band members will also take the AfricanAncestry.com DNA test and over the course of their experience in Ghana, will each have their ancestry revealed, identifying both the modern day country and ethnicity of African ancestry to which their DNA corresponds.
The most significant concert will be held at Cape Coast Castle. Cape Coast Castle is one of the most prominent slave trading forts in tact remaining in West Africa. Cape Coast maintains an infamous Door of No Return where it’s stated that once the enslaved Africans exited this doorway to enter the slave ships, they were doomed to never return to their homeland. This concert is the foundation of the tour and documentary film as it represents a return home by descendants of Africa as powerful symbols of resilience and creativity. We’re going BACK2Africa thru the door of no return powered by self-determination on a mission to rewrite our history and chart a new course for the future through the power of music - Go-Go!
Executive Producer: Diallo Sumbry
Co-Producer: The Backyard Band
Director: J. Kevin Swain