As I write this letter, children drawn from 16 schools in Britain are preparing to perform at an event there called ‘World Party in the Park.’ The piece that will be done is entitled ‘Hear Auntie Bess.’ Needless to say these are British children.
Now this for me is bittersweet. ‘Sweet’ because a) they’re taught by one of our own, Guyanese flautist Keith Waithe; and b) Guyanese culture is alive – albeit far from home.
Then again, home is where the heart is and I guess that’s what is inspiring Mr Waithe. And, ‘bitter’ – Guyanese children rarely hear and a majority may not even know this and many of our folksongs.
How ironic, children who never knew Guyana existed are now, thanks to Mr Waithe, exposed to our culture.
Our children can recite verbatim what the ‘rap’ and ‘dancehall’ musicians have to say, but sadly, we have failed to expose them to what is necessary to make them rounded, proud people of this soil.
When are we going to engage the Keith Waithe’s of the diaspora together with those who are locally based to help us resuscitate the Guyanese culture. We see emphasis being placed on things African and Indian and Amerindian, etc, and quite rightly so. Now let’s hear our children once again with things Guyanese.
Let’s recapture our folk and national songs and restore our pride as a nation and, yet still, while we have sons and daughters who are able and willing to take us along this path. How about the month of May being declared ‘Guyana Month’?
Let’s hear it for things Guyanese. Hats off to Keith and the Macusi Players for keeping the Guyanese spirit alive!
For more heartening news I encourage readers to visit online at www.keithwaithe.com