A Guyanese Christmas Song about Jesus – by Francis Quamina Farrier

– by Francis Quamina Farrier
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Christmas is fast approaching and there many Christmas Carols and Christmas songs on the airways. The majority are from the United States. Some are from the Caribbean. Very few from Guyana. You would have to be of a certain mature age to recall when the Guyanese Christmas Song, “CHRISTMAS MORNING IS HERE AGAIN” by Capt. Elmo McKenzie was extremely popular on local radio and elsewhere, for decades.
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Some Guyanese consider it as the greatest Guyanese Christmas song of all time and pity that it was composed at a time when Music Videos were yet to come. Of more recent vintage and produced as a Music Video, is the newer Guyanese Christmas Song “MY BABY KING”, which was produced by Bonny Alves with a talented Ensemble including Charmaine Blackman, Eze Rockeliffe and Tiny Duggan among others. There is a special aspect of this Guyanese Christmas song which is about “The Reason for the Season” – the birth of “My Baby King”, JESUS.   
VIDEO: Guyanese Christmas Song “MY BABY KING”
 The story behind this newer Guyanese Christmas song is most interesting. Music Video Producer Bunny Alves relates the following; “In 2008 a friend and associate of mine from the mining town of Linden, Ms Tinny Duggan, told me about a friend of hers who wrote a great composition for a Christmas song and that she would like me to arrange, record and produce it.” The initial idea about the recording of that Christmas Song was for it to be recorded with just Ms Tiny Duggan doing the vocals. But knowing Bonny Alves, it had to be something much grander. Bonny Alves then commenced the production in ernest as he related; “So we made arrangements to meet with the composer of the song, Mr. Mike James, and after hearing the piece I was very impressed and decided to take on the challenge.”
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That challenge for Bonny Alves was to produce a Music Video worthy, not only of Christmas as a secular Holiday, but a production with a religious element worthy of “MY BABY KING”, JESUS. The creative juices in Bonny Alves began to flow to a great degree like the mighty Kaieteur Falls. He related it as follows; “I built the track and assembled a team of singers whom I considered among the best voices in the country, they are: Czerina Ali, Pamela Gittens, Eze Rockliffe, Tinny Duggan, Candace Field, Charmaine Blackman, Ashley John, Winston Caesar, Devon Denny and Your’s truly”. That is quite an ensemble. But not too difficult for Bonny Alves to get together.
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 When I asked Tinny Duggan about how she felt playing MARY in the Music Video, she responded by saying, “At first I didn’t think it was right to do it.” Maybe because she is not a teenager as Mary was at the time of the birth of the Baby King, Jesus. However, there was some gentle pressure from the producer. “But Bonny and the rest of the team convinced me to do it.” Her performance has been widely applauded by the public, and she herself is pleased with how she played the part. “Now whenever I watch the video I feel damn good.” she stated.
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Tinny Duggan is also hopeful that MY BABY KING, like popular Guyanese Christmas song, “CHRISTMAS MORNING IS HERE AGAIN” before it, will become very popular and played at Christmas time in years to come. As Tinny Duggan says, “If DJs on Radio and Television would push it, it could become a staple Christmas song and one of the best in the Caribbean and further afield”, she hopes, since a lot of work was put into it at a very professional level..
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“The most difficult part of the project”, according to Bonny Alves, “Was distributing parts of the song to each individual that would interpret the melody exactly as I had in my head.” That was a big hurdle for Alves. Having succeeded in sorting that out, he moved on to the next phase of the production. “After this was done, it was smooth sailing and so I recorded, mixed and mastered to an excellent finished product of “MY BABY KING.” 
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For Bonny Alves it was another success story in his professional career as a Music Producer. He was satisfied. “I was so impressed with the finish product that I decided that a video needed to be done.  The song was very strong so it did not require much Set designing for the video, but just a simple plain execution of what was done in studio, resulting in an amazing product, a production well loved by all who have come into contact with it.”
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The song was subsequently included on the SSignal Productions Christmas Album CHRISTMAS WITH SSIGNAL which was the first original Guyanese Christmas Album; Arranged and produced by Bonny Alves with songs composed by Bonny Alves, Tiny Duggan, Winston Caesar, Pastor Lawrence London, Ancel Boston and Basil Bradshaw, and featuring the voices of Bonny Alves, Charmaine Blackman, Saskia Charter, Ancel Boston, Tiny Duggan, Devon Denny, Winston Caesar, the Circle of Love and Basil Bradshaw.
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The hope is that more DJs would give air time to these professionally produced Guyanese Christmas Songs. It is really a matter of how patriotic these DJs are and how much the politicians encourage them to be true to themselves and to The Cooperative Republic of Guyana. So during this Christmas Season and in the years to come, let us hear on our Radio and see on our TV, lots of the Guyanese Christmas song, “MY BABY KING”.
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Charmaine Blackman in the Christmas Spirit (Photo by Francis Q. Farrier).

Veteran musician and Leader of The Yoruba Singers, Eze Rockliffe. (Photo by Francis Q. Farrier)

Guyana’s premier Musical Married Couple Bonny Alves and Charmaine Blackman.
(Photo by Francis Q. Farrier)

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Comments

  • carament  On December 7, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Just want to point out that while i’m somewhat familiar with Captain Elmo’s work, I really do believe that the most popular Guyanese-made Christmas song is “Happy Holidays” by Billy Moore and the Four Lords. Thanks…Rick

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