Guyanese Cultural giants honoured in New York – by Francis Quamina Farrier + Videos

Guyanese Cultural giants honoured in New York

– by Francis Quamina Farrier

It has been seventeen years since the Guyana Cultural Association of New York commenced its commendable task of honouring Guyanese, both at home and abroad, for their contributions in field of Culture. The Annual Award Ceremonies are held on the last Wednesday of August at the Brooklyn Borough Hall, and usually attended by elected officials and diplomats. Attending this year, were Guyana’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Guyana to the United Nations, Michael Ten-Pow, and the Guyana Consul General in New York, Barbara Atherly.     

Among the twenty 2018 Awardees, were Calypsonian Roger Hinds aka Young Bill Rogers, Actress Bibi Natasha Khan Azeez, singer Compton “Coody” Hodge, Calypsonian Winfield James, Musician Carlo Lachmansingh, Singer Aubrey Mann, Cultural Enabler, 90 year old Pandit Ramlall Jr, Artist and Costume Designer, Bernard Ramsay, Playwright and cultural journalist, Subraj Singh and Jamaica-based Actor and Theatre Director, Eugene Williams, who had his early theatrical experiences at the Theatre Guild in Kingston, Georgetown.

In the Godfrey Chin Prize for Heritage Journalism, Holland-based Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra, was the First Prize Winner for creating “Kiskidee Days”, which is a community of evocative ceramic sculptures with a Facebook page. With “Kiskadee Days”, Gaitri shares recollections of her childhood in Guyana’s sugar belt. It provided an authentic, informative and witty examination of a Hindu wedding in Guyana.

In his address to the audience at the ceremony, Ambassador Michael Ten-Pow said that “Guyanese culture, broadly speaking, is simply the way of life of the Guyanese people”, and commended the hard-working Executive members of the GCA for their, “Sustained and exemplary work to showcase and preserve our Guyaneseness, our rich and multi-ethnic cultural heritage, and to encourage inter-generational dialogue about its many manifestations.”

The audience was given samples of the rich musical compositions of Guyana by Young Bill Rogers and Gavin Mendonca. Rogers sang “The Weed Song” which was composed by his father, the legendary Bill Rogers. For those who know that original version of the “Weed Song” in which bushes of varying types were mentioned, it was well-performed by the son of the great man last Wednesday night in New York, but with  twist at the end. Included by Young Bill Rogers, was a well-known American bush – George Bush. That bought the house down. Gavin Mendonca, accompanied with his own guitar playing, was also very well received by the audience who readily joined in as he sang a medley of popular Guyanese Folk songs, including “Small Days”. Also performing at the ceremony, was the Classique Dance Company, which is a group of New York Youngsters of Guyanese parents.

During the Reception which followed the ceremony, the attendees were entertained with folk music by the Guyana Cultural Association Kwe Kwe Ensemble. Other annual events by the Guyana Cultural Association of New York, are Kwe Kwe Nite, Literary Hang and Family Fun Day.

​Ambassador Michael Ten-Pow with Honoree Roger Hinds aka Young Bill Rogers

​Some of the GCA 2018 Honorees at the Awards Ceremony
in New York. (Photo by F.Q. Farrier)

Singer Gavin Mendonca entertaining the audience with a
medley of popular Guyanese Folk songs. (Photo by F.Q. Farrier)

​Holland-based Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra, First Prize winner for the Godfrey Chin Prize for Heritage Journalism. (Photo by F.Q. Farrier

Jamaica-based Eugene Williams, formally f the Theatre Guild, Georgetown, Guyana


Real Old Guyana Calypso – Bill Rogers – 3 videos


Here are three really vintage Guyanese calypso recordings by Bill Rogers, a Guyanese singer from the 1930’s and 1940’s. This type of music was called “Shanto”. Have a listen and a laugh at the lyrics as they scrool down as the music is played. Enjoy!!

1. B.G. Bhaji
2. Jimmy Black Pudding and Souse
3. Weed Song

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