Guyana hosts evening of song, dance to join world music day celebrations

Guyana joined the rest of the world in observing International Music Day on Tuesday.

Under the theme ‘Promoting the musical arts,’ the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport hosted ‘An Evening of Music’ at the Umana Yana, where music lovers from all walks of life assembled to enjoy the melodious sounds that filled the air.

Andrew Tyndall, Music Development Officer at the Ministry, noted that while the international celebrations have been held worldwide since 1975, the event was the first of its kind in Guyana.

He also noted that the government, through the Ministry of Culture, has placed much emphasis on the development of music. He added that during the July/August school vacation, two music programmes will be offered to children, including a steel pan programme. He also noted that the National School of Music would be opened soon to train persons in the field of music.

Starting the programme on Tuesday was the Guyana Police Force band, which entertained the audience with its steel pan selections. It was followed by David Dewar, who serenaded the gathering with his deep bass voice during his performance of “Old Man River”. Another audience favourite was the performance by the men’s quartet Circle of Love. The Woodside Choir, which has been in existence for several decades, also graced the stage, singing “New Day” and “Way Down Demerara”, which were hits with the more mature present among the audience. The National Steel Orchestra, which was formed for Carifesta in 2008, also appeared and offering performances of “O Beautiful Guyana”, “Kaieteur Waltz”, and “Freedom”. Steel pan music lovers were entertained by Compton Narine, a teacher at St Roses High School who did the solo piece “Black Orpheus”, as well as by the Parkside Steel Orchestra, which performed “Frolic” and “My Native Land”.

A little flare was added to the evening when Sandella Craig, who is known for her tantalizing belly dances, took to the stage for a more traditional Indian dance, among her performances for the evening. Meanwhile, a number of violin pieces were performed by Dr. Prashanthi Mendis of Sri Lanka, who performed both solo and with her students. “Arise”, “Guyana/Gold and Silver Waltz”, “Grande Valse Brillante Op. 18” and “Sweet Lorraine” were among the pieces performed by this act.

Guyana’s premiere dance troupe, the National Dance Company, which will be 32 years old in October, also did not disappoint, leaving the audience in awe after a 3-minute performance.

Just before intermission, Guyanese Amar Ramessar collaborated with Indian national Pradeep Kumar in delivering a piece called “Chand Taaray Yuhi”. Ramessar demonstrated his expertise on the harmonium while Kumar worked his skills on the tabla.

The second half of the programme saw great performances by the Korokwa folk choir, which entertained the crowd with “Uncle Joe” and “Coming Down”.

As Ruth Osman-Rose walked onto the stage, joining the Georgetown Jazz Project which had just performed, the crowd went silent in anticipation of her breathtaking voice. Osman-Rose sang two jazz pieces, including “Masquerade”.

Taking to the stage next were two young artistes, Javinski and Tenecia Defreitas, who together delivered their rendition of “A Whole New World”.

The show closed as it had opened, with steel pan renditions.

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