Africa by America Benefits Children’s Charities

Krista Connor

Show set for Nov. 1 at The Queen

Egalitarian & the Dinkendo Family Band, a traditional music group from the Gambia, West Africa, will perform Africa by America: A Benefit Show, at The Queen on Saturday, Nov. 1. They also will release a 14-track album, Sensible Shoes, which was produced in Delaware.
Ticket and CD proceeds will benefit nonprofit organizations the Gainako Foundation for Children’s Development and SOS Children’s Villages, a non-governmental, international development organization.

Born as Modou Lamin Bah in 1981 in Brikama, the Gambia, the Afro-reggae singer now known as Egalitarian (Egali for short) left the Gambia last year with his band to tour the United States as a goodwill ambassador of SOS Children’s Villages. The tour also aims to increase cultural exchange and education using Egali’s original music to promote unity.
In addition to supporting SOS Children’s Villages, Egali is the founder of Gainako Foundation for Children’s Development, which is committed to helping children, women’s liberation, social justice, and youth participation in globalization. Even though he runs his own nonprofit, Egali says he will always continue raising money for SOS Children’s Villages at concerts.

Besides Egali, other current band members are Paco, a hand drummer from Senegal, West Africa, and Delawareans Ed Dwornik (guitarist and manager), John DiGiovanni (drummer and recording engineer), Bob Colligan (bassist and song arranger), and Sean Holz (guitarist and song arranger).

The American members got involved last winter. One evening in November, Egali and Paco found themselves in Newark with just $40 and no plan after touring the U.S. with the seven members of the original band. After the tour, the other members left the group and scattered throughout the U.S.

Dwornik’s friend Eric Paul Levy soon met and befriended the two musicians at a coffee shop and invited them to a jam session, where they met Dwornik and the other current band members.

“Then friends invited Egali and Paco to join in on gigs,” says Dwornik. “Another friend, Ariel Hardy, offered a place to live until they got on their feet.”

Dwornik, who frequently played solo gigs, teamed up with Egalitarian and the Dinkendo Family Band once he was trained in West African guitar and production styles.
Since becoming part of the band, he has played more than 50 shows and festivals with Egali and crew.

The band is currently looking for an American publicist and booking agent for a fall tour this year.

The group has concert hall and stadium gigs booked in the Gambia and a show in Senegal in December. Egali will spend the winter in the Gambia to be with family, start a studio project for emerging Gambian talent, and work on plans for spring and summer tours. “He also hates the snow,” Dwornik notes.

“We are already famous in the Gambia and popular locally,” says Dwornik. “We are hoping to extend our reach globally and to provide opportunities for emerging Gambian and West African talent. Things are moving fast.”

A two-hour reception starting at 6 p.m. will precede the show on The Queen’s upstairs balcony, where ambassadors from the Gambia, the United States and the United Nations will meet Wilmington political and business leaders.

“Our goal is to establish ties between our community in Wilmington and the Gambia that will create cultural, business and community enrichment opportunities between our countries,” says Dwornik.

The bands Special Delivery and Betty and the Bullet will open the show.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 8. Tickets are $15.

For more details, go to queentickets.worldcafelive.com.

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