Guyana Folk and Culture Magazine – by GCA New York

Guyana Cultural Association Inc of New York on-line Magazine  – July 2012

Download Magazine JULY 2012 GCA ON-LINE MAGAZINE


In this edition of our on-line magazine, the Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc. shines the spotlight on Guyanese musical creativity and music in Guyana. We have done this regularly over the past decade as we carried out our mission to “preserve, promote, and propagate” Guyana’s rich cultural heritage.

We have organized symposia (for example, Celebrating our Music Heritage in 2003; Celebrating Guyanese Dance, 2005,), published a well received newspaper series (“Celebrating our Creative Personalities” in Sunday Stabroek 2003-2006), issued in 2003 Music Orchids for You: Is We Ting—a compilation CD of iconic Guyanese music, published a collection of essays (Writings on Guyanese Music 2003 – 2004 published by the Department of African American Studies, Ohio University, 2005), and encouraged and supported original ethno-music research by Dr. Gillian Richards-Greaves and Rohan Sagar on Kwe Kwe, Banshikili and other Guyanese musical traditions. We continue this work in this edition. 

We express our heartiest congratulations to the Woodside Choir, Medal of Service, on its 60th Anniversary. Its contributions to Guyana’s musical life are truly appreciated. We also direct our attention to a range of themes, institutions, and personalities that have contributed to musical life in Guyana.

Sara Bharrat’s essay on music and Hindu iconography offers valuable insight on the place of music in one of Guyana’s major religions. Reflective autobiography and biography are also dominant themes in this edition. Serna Hewitt reflects on her father’s pioneering publications on Guyanese folk music.

Derry Etkins and Maureen Marks-Mendonca share with us their experiences growing up in Guyana. Margaret Lawrence and I report on recent interviews with Rudolph “Putagee”Vivierios and the Mighty Enchanter.

Marilyn Massiah’s article speaks to the power of music to calm a society. She reflects on Rafiq Khan and Hugh Cholmondeley’s use of Nesbit Chhangur’s “Guiana Lament” as a calming asset during Guyana’s dark and turbulent 1960s.

Dr. Gillian Richards–Greaves and Rohan Sagar share aspects of their current research on Guyanese folk music. Peter Halder speaks to the intersection of music and social dance during the 1940s and 1950s in Guyana.

Some of the contributors challenge us to look at the present and think about the future. Maureen Marks-Mendonca synthesizes the FaceBook conversation “Why Guyanese love Oldies?” Fay Clark reports on the place of music in the rehabilitation of Guyanese prisoners. A reflection piece is also offered on music education in Guyana.

Altogether, this edition is a contribution to broadening the appreciation of the multiple dimensions of Guyanese heritage.  Without an appreciation of the place of music in urban, rural, and hinterland Guyana, we will have an incomplete picture of Guyanese history and the textures of its rich heritage.

Music is a valuable barometer of the state of contemporary Guyana. Music connects Guyana with its substantial Diaspora. Music will have a special role to play not only in visualizing Guyana’s future but also in constructing a truly participatory society in which all voices have a chance to be heard.

There are also links to video materials on YouTube. The announcement by Hugh Hamilton about GCA’s radio program on One Caribbean Radio on

August 5, 2012 will provide us with another platform to preserve, promote,and propagate Guyana’s musical creativity.

There is still much work to be done and GCA will remain committed to the task of preserving, promoting, and propagating Guyana’s musical heritage. We hope you enjoy this edition. Your ongoing support for the 2012 Folk Festival season is anticipated. Please send any thoughts, photographs, or any other information on Guyanese music and music in Guyana to

Vibert C. Cambridge, Ph.D.,
President, Guyana Cultural
Association of New York, Inc., and
Guest Editor

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