Commentary: Mixed bag – By Dave Martins

By Dave Martins –  August 2, 2020 – Stabroek News

Any writer of a regular column will tell you of the variety of items that you put away, intended for another day. Like today. I must tell you, before I forget, to definitely watch a post my musician friend George Jardim has posted. It’s Dire Straits’ Sultans of Swing, ukulele acoustic stuff (don’t let the word “ukulele” distract you; it is indeed “intense rhythm” coming at you non-stop. (see video below). I don’t know where Jardim finds these things). It’s not long, three and a half minutes or so but check particularly around 1:30 for some real fireworks.     

Also, a big up birthday shout for Ken Corsbie, hitting 90. What a legacy from Ken, first in his track star days, going back to Saints, but especially his comedic career in All Ah We, with Henry Muttoo, et al, and then Dem Two and He Wan. Ken has a secure place in the Guyana story, one that should be commemorated somewhere in Georgetown, accessible to the masses.  Today as well, switching focus completely to laud the work of a man of the soil, gardening expert John Hemrup, who keeps the lawn in our yard looking trim; if you need that kind of expertise John is at 698-5035.

Also, with last Sunday being International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, a shout from my wife Annette, who chaired the National Mangrove Restoration Project in 2010 to say that whilst most Guyanese are beginning to see the important sea defence  roles that mangroves play there is more to a mangrove forest than just the trees. A couple years ago, Annette had asked me to write a mangrove jingle and the piece I did generated a lot of traction with some folks referring to me in public as the Mangrove Man – a dubious title.  In fact, mangrove forests sequester eight times more carbon than other forests so providing not only a national but global good that cannot be overstated.

Mangrove systems and their connectivity to wetlands, rivers and the ocean  provide a whole range of complementary services that would take up an entire column. I have heard her repeatedly share that the Barima Mora Passage Mangrove Forest ecosystem is the most intact in the entire country. This ecosystem has been recently adjudged by some world class scientists who carried out preliminary studies in 2019 to have all the qualities for a World Heritage Site. How wonderful it would be if Guyana, which doesn’t have a World Heritage Site, can have this be declared on in time for the 2021 Mangrove day celebrations.

Finally, and back to me, for a peek at my project focusing on our amazing Iwokrama Forest Reserve. Just some lyrics at this point, but probably a song down the road.  Stay tuned.

Out there

Open sky and endless panorama

Coming in by plane, or river ride

Winding water pattern, harpies all around you

The skies so big up there for them to hide

Iwokrama, sprawling forest, reaching high and far and wide

So many creatures living in it, seamless motion, side by side

Birds and bees and sloths and turtles, high bamboo and turtle grass

All of it, in one assembly, there before you as you pass

What we use to build tomorrow’s vista Iwokrama grows it every day

Hear the big trees tumble making thunder, as the very young ones swing and sway

Pouring rains and raging thunder, lizards hiding down below

Ants and spiders run together, and now and then one one crapaud

Wallaba, green heart and mora, crabwood too and purple heart

Mighty Hubbabli rafters, up high for the kitchen part.

One million acres, dedicated, creating refuge, one nirvana

In Makushi, long time story, only one word – Iwokrama.


Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing  – alCHEMY Tour 1983

From Wikipedia  –

Dire Straits were a British rock band formed in London in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (lead vocals and lead guitar), David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Pick Withers (drums and percussion). They were active from 1977 to 1988 and again from 1991 to 1995. Dire Straits are one of the world’s best-selling music artists, with album sales of over 100 million.[1]

Their first single, “Sultans of Swing“, from their 1978 self-titled debut album, reached the top ten in the UK and US charts. It was followed by hit singles including “Romeo and Juliet” (1981), “Private Investigations” (1982), “Twisting by the Pool” (1983), “Money for Nothing” (1985), and “Walk of Life” (1985).[2] Their most commercially successful album, Brothers in Arms (1985), has sold more than 30 million copies; it was the first album to sell a million copies on compact disc,[3][4] and is the eighth-bestselling album in UK history. According to the Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, Dire Straits have spent over 1,100 weeks on the UK albums chart, the fifth most of all time.[5]

Dire Straits’ sound draws from various influences including countryfolk, the blues rock of J. J. Cale, and jazz.[6] Their stripped-down sound contrasted with punk rock and demonstrated a roots rock influence that emerged from pub rock. There were several changes in personnel, with Mark Knopfler and Illsley being the only consistent members. After disbanding once again in 1995, Knopfler launched his solo career full-time. Dire Straits won four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards (Best British Group twice), two MTV Video Music Awards, and various other awards.[7] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.


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  • Kman  On 09/22/2020 at 12:28 pm

    At the moment, the entire world is in dire straits!

  • wally n  On 09/22/2020 at 12:56 pm

    Wish Ken Corsbie all the best. talented , funny, touching. I always envied him for a lifestyle I imagined he had. So glad we have youtube, I can pass on his work.

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