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Writings on Guyanese Music
2003 & 2004

eCaroh price: $15.95

“Writings On Guyanese Music 2003 & 2004” is a collection of articles, essays, and reflections on Guyana’s musical heritage produced during the period June 2003 to July 2004 and is directly related to an initiative of the Guyana Folk Festival Committee.  The Guyana Folk Festival is committed to the preservation, propagation and promotion of the cultural heritage of the people of Guyana.  Since 2001, the committee has been organizing the Guyana Folk Festival in New York.  The annual event has three dimensions: the Wordsworth McAndrew Awards, which recognize Guyanese creative persons; a symposium; and a Family Fun Day. 

Each year a theme is selected.  For 2003, the theme was “Celebrating Guyana’s Musical Heritage.” The decision to adopt this theme emerged from the virtual unsung passing of two of Guyana’s musical stalwarts - Billy Moore (Happy Holiday), in late 2002, and Art Broomes, in early of 2003.  Had it not been for the efforts of Eddy Grant, Billy Moore would have been buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave and forgotten.  A similar silence was associated with the passing of Art Broomes.  Because of these examples of disregard and the passing of more Guyanese musicians, Guyana Folk Festival decided to focus on Guyana’s musical heritage and encourage a number of activities.  Godfrey Chin’s NOSTALGIA # 97 (January 15, 2003), reprinted in this collection, spoke to that concern. 

Among the first initiatives was launching the series “Celebrating our Creative Personalities,” edited by Dr. Vibert Cambridge and published in Sunday Stabroek.  Since May 29, 2003, this fortnightly series has profiled more than 30 Guyanese.  Several of the features are reprinted in this volume.

Concurrent with the launching of the newspaper series was the decision to produce a CD of Guyanese music.  The result was the CD Is We Ting that was launched during Folk Festival 2003.  That project, coordinated by Ron Lammy, is testimony of the collaboration that is possible within global Guyana — Guyana and its Diaspora.  Tony Phillips, who lives in Australia, provided the cover art for the CD.  Ron Lammy, who lives in Boston [ Massachusetts], and Reggie Paul, who lives in Florida, coordinated the mixing and balancing of the musical selections that were provided by Guyanese musicians living in Guyana, Trinidad, Canada, the Cayman Islands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

Through Is We Ting, we are able to celebrate more than 50 years of Guyanese musical creativity.  The 19 selections include Bill Rogers’ “Weed Song,” Terry Gajraj’s rendition of “Guyana Baboo,” King Fighter’s “Come Leh We Go Sookie,” Police Male Voice Choir’s “Jane Engage,” Doreen Gravesande’s  “Ting A Ling,” Lady Guymine’s “Granny Fit,” and Hugh Sam’s arrangement of the medley “Satira Gal”/ “Lotan Gal”/ “Uncle Joe”/ “Auntie Bess.”

Collectively, the writings on Guyanese music by Vibert Cambridge, Godfrey Chin and Ray Seales, son of the legendary Al Seales, provide an opportunity to see the scope and functions of Guyana’s musical heritage. The presentations from the 2003 Symposium play a similar role.  “Writings On Guyanese Music 2003 & 2004”, therefore, permits the reader to learn more about Guyana’s folk heritage and join in the recognition of some of Guyana’s musical heroes.   Vibert C. Cambridge, Ph. D., Coordinator, Guyana Folk Festival 2003 Symposium

Section I
Nostalgia 97: Billy Moore Happy Holiday!

Section II
The Folk Heritage

Section III
National Icons

Section IV
Reflections on the Musical Landscape

Section V
Music and Politics

Section VI
The Business of Music

Section VII
Poetry, Music & New Styles

Section VIII
CD Rom – Musical illustrations for Mildred Lowe’s presentation “ A Selection of Guyanese Folk Music Performances: The Last Forty Years”


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Last update: 03/19/12

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