Adventures in Music and Culture with Peyton Shuffield: Enyan Denkyira, Ghana
MCN Foundation is proud to partner with Peyton Shuffield. Peyton is a member of the Paa Kow and the Afro-Fusion Orchestra and has been serving the Ghana community, Denkyira, for the past 12 years.
We would like to share Peyton’s experiences in Ghana with you.
In the summer of 2006, as a college student and musician, I traveled to Ghana, West Africa with a university program that focused on music and dance studies. It was my first of many trips to follow after becoming enamored with the country’s rich culture and alluring style of popular music known as High Life.
I was lucky enough to meet Ghana’s best drummer and set up a time to take lessons. His name was Paa Kow. We became great friends and I invited him to the US as a guest artist at the University of Colorado. Fast-forward 12 years and 7 more trips to Ghana, Paa Kow and I are still friends and bandmates. Since 2013, I have traveled back to Ghana every year to perform with Paa Kow and his Afro-Fusion Orchestra and bring as many donations that could fit in our bags back to his village Enyan Denkyira. Denkyira is a tiny town situated on the intersection of two paved roads less than a mile from the town of Esiam (the closest city you can find on Google maps) in the central region of the country.
The main street bustles with people who walk freely about, giving way to the occasional car that passes through. Brightly colored concrete houses with tin roofs and small grids of dirt roads extend from the main street. Sounds of music are often heard with interjections of crows and bleats from the roosters and goats that roam about unconfined. On the outskirts of town where the vibrant green jungle begins, farmers make their way along a single-track trail to check their corn and cassava crops. The food is delicious and fresh and sourced from the nearby farms. Most of the town operates on the early to bed early to rise practice and by 4:30 am announcements from a central loud speaker commence. The people are welcoming and friendly, and the inquisitive children like to playfully yell “oburoni” at me everywhere I pass by. (oburoni literally means “person from beyond the horizon” colloquially used for white person) It’s a beautiful place that has become my home away from home.
This year, we were able to bring some needed school supplies to an elementary school provided by MCN Foundation and they were very much appreciated. Below are some photos from my travels there throughout the years.
If you would like to learn more about Paa Kow and the Afro-Fusion Orchestra, please visit https://paakowmusic.com/
MCN Foundation supports individuals, providers and organizations in developing countries through healthcare education and entrepreneurial investment in order to nuture and grow healthy families and communities. To learn more visit mcnfoundation.org.
The recipe for Fufu with Abenkwan Soup can be found here