Yoruba Singers turns 45

- grand concert billed for tomorrow night

Yoruba Singers celebrates its 45th anniversary tomorrow night with a grand concert themed ‘For the Love of a Common People (2)’ at Congress Place, Sophia.

The folk band, which was born on May 25, 1971, started with a group of young men, some still in their teens. Among the group were, two guitarists, two hand drummers, a flutist, someone who played the harmonica or mouth organ as it was referred to as then and a lead vocalist in the name Eze Rockcliffe who today is the only original member remaining in the band.

Over the years Yoruba, apart from folk songs, specialized in other genres as well including calypso, soca, jazz, reggae with a dash of African music and chutney at times.

The Yoruba Singers with leader Eze Rockcliffe (fourth, left)
The Yoruba Singers with leader Eze Rockcliffe (fourth, left)

According to Eze at the time the band was formed, they were involved in an organisation then called ASCRIA (African Society for Cultural Relations Independent Africa).

Their first album ‘Ojinga’s Own’ featured songs like “Ojinga’s Own,” “I Got to be Somebody Someday,” “What to Do” and “Massacura Man.” But the songs that catapulted them to local stardom were “Kreketeh,” “Black Pepper” and their most recent song released eight years ago, “Long Grass.”

In a sit-down with The Scene, Eze said, “I wish to keep the folk tradition alive and Guyanese should come out and support.” He also noted that Yoruba Singers has endured, despite all of the struggles it faced as a group and though the entertainment industry was/is not as supportive to local artistes and more so artistes who focus mostly on cultural music, through great sacrifice and the love of what they do.

He added, “We’re hoping that with the coalition government there will be policies put in place for the upward mobility for Guyanese music and musicians especially when it comes to the managing of copyright and even more the policing of copyright.”

‘For the Love of a Common People (2)’ is a continuation of last year’s concert that went down on December 12, at the same venue and is not only in celebration of the group’s 45th anniversary but also Guyana’s 50th as an independent nation.

Band members are: Kenneth Rockcliffe, Jocelyn Rockcliffe, Xenphon ‘Kieves’ Golliah, Keron Richards, Paul Barker, Peter Callender, Gordon Henry, Ralph Cole and Eze Rockcliffe.

Apart from the group, the audience will also be treated to performances by some of Guyana’s finest; Sammy Baksh, Johnny Braff, Charmaine Blackman, Keith Campbell, Bonny Alves, Jovinski, Circle of Love, Lassel Duke, Michael Smith, Killa Miller, Sean Bhola, Aubrey Roberts, Melissa Vandeyar and others.

Tickets are only $1,000 and the concert begins at 6 pm sharp.

Persons can also pick up a copy of one or all three of these Yourba Singers CDs: ‘Ojinga’s Own’, ‘Ah We Like Dem Song Dis’ and ‘Fighting For Survival’ at the concert.

For tickets contact Eze on numbers: 225-7714, 670-8588 or 643-9031; or pay him a visit at 90 Laluni Street, Queenstown.

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