So It Go

Caribbean Man: The Unfulfilled Promise

Caribbean Man: The Unfulfilled Promise

It is often the case, if you have your eyes open, that you’re engaged in an encounter on one level and you suddenly find an awareness on a completely different level that is so strong and so vivid that it makes you draw a sudden breath, as from a fright .

`Thanks for that’

`Thanks for that’

Going in I admit I’m frequently complaining about things wrong in Guyana, and I make no apologies for that; we have many things wrong and we should do more complaining – me included .

Mekkin’ a jewel  fuh watch

Mekkin’ a jewel fuh watch

I have no idea how many read it, but following the recent Guyana Prize awards, a lady from the University of Leeds in the UK, Lori Shelbourn, herself part of the jury deciding on the awards, wrote a review of the collection of poems by Cassia Alphonso that won the Guyana Prize for Poetry 2012 .

A bouquet for Sparrow

A bouquet for Sparrow

We’re taking our time in the Caribbean writing our musical history .

An experience to remember

An experience to remember

Sometimes, in the everyday course of life, an interaction comes along, out of the blue, that is unusual and startling and revealing all at the same time .

Attention to detail

Attention to detail

I have previously mentioned that when I meet Guyanese during Tradewinds performances overseas, they are often curious to get a read on “life in Guyana” from someone who has relocated there, and their tendency is to grill me who is not seen as an establishment person who might be inclined to gild the lily .

Laughter

Laughter

Opinions will differ as to what is the most important quality God gave man for coping with life .

The T20 writing is on the wall

The T20 writing is on the wall

The curtain is only just down on the recent Limacol Caribbean Premier League cricket tournament, enjoying sold-out games and strong sponsorship, and here comes the usual wailing in the press about the demise of cricket propelled by the T20 .

You must know people who know

You must know people who know

Every time I go away to play to audiences outside I hear from Guyanese in the diaspora on the coping-with-life-in-Guyana question .

Oh Canada

Oh Canada

I’m writing this in Toronto a few hours after a concert at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, designed to help raise funds for the Burn Care Unit at our Georgetown Public Hospital .

The Tradewinds album covers

The Tradewinds album covers

A recent note from a Tradewinds fan about the design of a particular album cover took me back to the time I had begun recording with the band in Toronto in the late 1960s .

Blue water and white sand

Blue water and white sand

As Guyana’s interest in tourism appears to be gaining momentum, it is useful to reflect on the development of that sector in two Caribbean countries – St Vincent and the Cayman Islands – that moved into tourism at approximately the same time in the 1960s .

Female devotion

Female devotion

I always travel with a little scribble book where I make notes to myself (books or CDs to get; observations; a reminder to me or to a friend, etc) and browsing through it recently I found the following reference to an incident that had completely left my memory .

The visa book

The visa book

First of all, “the book” is ultimately not about Guyana .

Music as regional glue

Music as regional glue

(This column originally appeared in the ‘Caricom Review Magazine,’ July 2013)We have been at it as far back as 1921, when the Jamaican legislature saw a motion to ask the British Colonial Office to consult the other islands on the idea of a federation – this notion of regional unity, that is .

Colonialism: We took what we wanted

Colonialism: We took what we wanted

Barely a month passes in the English-speaking Caribbean without a reference on some stage or in some letter or political speech to the deleterious effects of colonialism upon us .

Time standing still

Time standing still

Most of the truly riveting or memorable things we’ve seen reside in still photographs that freeze a fleeting moment and hold it for us forever .

Here’s my question

Here’s my question

It is often the case in life that you see absurd behaviour taking place and you immediately know the reason; like a driver running a red light at full speed .

Up in the air

Up in the air

Airline travel these days is often a taxing and frequently painful experience .

Socialisation at Saints

Socialisation at Saints

There is a Guyanese organisation in Toronto called the St .

Take a deep breath and move on

Take a deep breath and move on

I get a modest monthly American Federation of Musicians Union pension cheque which I deposit in the bank here, but it takes 30 working days, yes 30, for foreign cheques to clear (money laundering; fraud, etc, is the reason you’re given) which means, taking in weekends, foreign holidays and ours, that it’s actually closer to 45 days .

How far we’ve come, how far to go

How far we’ve come, how far to go

I’ve mentioned before that we don’t need to wade through reams of data or voluminous comparisons to reach some basic conclusions on seemingly complex matters; that we can often get a clear and almost instantaneous insight on these issues from indicators staring us in the face .

The Black Watch time

The Black Watch time

A friend of mine, who knows I love Martin Carter, alerted me to a recent letter in the press by Ruel Johnson that contained a poem by Martin apparently written in the dark days of our suspended constitution .

Stoking the cultural economy

Stoking the cultural economy

During Mashramani this year, my friend Vibert Cambridge and his New York-based Guyana Cultural Association (GCA) organised a Masquerade Band competition on a Saturday morning in Victoria .

This modern efficient age

This modern efficient age

So it Go

You’re going to have to stay with me on this one; it’s quite an experience .

Some hopeful signs

Some hopeful signs

So It Go

The information from daily reportings of various traumas in a country, whether from government actions or personal behaviours, can become a surround creating a feeling of hopelessness in the citizens .

Ah glad tuh see duh

Ah glad tuh see duh

So It Go

We have a number of folks with very perceptive eyes writing columns or letters to the press on a daily basis pointing out various traumas or irregularities in the country .

Man on a mission

Man on a mission

So It Go

It’s not on the main road, so you can drive by it every day and not know it’s there, as thousands do .

Timehri before Timehri

Timehri before Timehri

So it Go

It happens without fail: every time I come or go from our major airport at Timehri, I’m caught up in a memory of the time in the mid-1950s when I worked there as a youngster .

Semantic manoeuvres

Semantic manoeuvres

So It Go

From a youth in Saints, dealing with Mr Singh and Mr Stanley Fernandes who taught us English, I was drawn to the intricacies of words and the shades of meaning that one could extract merely from word choice .

Turmoil in calypso

Turmoil in calypso

So it Go

Somewhere in the early ’80s, Tradewinds came to Guyana to take part in Mashramani with a substitute bass player, Burman Scott, from Cayman .

The concrete of partisan politics

The concrete of partisan politics

So it Go

When I lived in the Cayman Islands, I became friendly with a young businessman there largely based on our interest in Caribbean culture, personalities, social movements, etc .

Recognise opportunity when it comes

Recognise opportunity when it comes

So it Go

Guyana is up in arms this week over news that the Chinese are building a Marriott Hotel here but not employing any Guyanese in the construction work, and that we’re also going to have a Chinese TV channel; yes, Sumintra, a Chinese TV channel in Guyana .

Change is about leverage

Change is about leverage

So it Go

In recent weeks, probably propelled by fading hopes for “a new day” with our new Parliament, we have seen some stirring letters to the press citing Guyana’s diverse difficulties and calling for the citizenry to become more socially active .

Living with LIAT

Living with LIAT

So It Go

In just a few months from now, the regional airline LIAT will begin using the expanded facilities at Ogle Airport ferrying passengers to and from the Caribbean .

This dialect

This dialect

So It Go

Anyone who knows anything about my work in music will know of my commitment to Caribbean dialect .

Our 1823 Monument

Our 1823 Monument

So It Go

On civic matters in Guyana, while there are often opportunities for discussion or exchange, we have a marked tendency to eschew that route and simply make pronouncements .



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