Range of artistes on show at Rupununi music festival

Gavin Mendonca strumming his guitar to one of the songs he’ll be singing.

Poetry on a stool and tassa drumming are among the treats as the Rupununi Music and Arts Festival continues today at the Manari Ranch.

The now annual cultural extravaganza will end tomorrow and its Director Rob Ramdhani is envisaging a “festival village” by 2020.

At the launching of the event at Colgrain House on February 8th, Ramdhani said that they are arranging a format that promotes education, tourism, eco-adventure, ecology and the environment.

“So you can imagine in 2020, and I’m giving ourselves two years, that you can come to this site in Manari you will know that you are in Guyana and in the Rupununi. The idea is to create a village, a festival village that reflects the vibes, the natural vibes and the environment of the space. So we are trying in two years to construct a village of Ite Palms and cocorite, of local timber and wood,” Ramdhani said.

He explained that the intention is to construct a stage in the shape of a benab and other smaller benabs that would be able to accommodate patrons of the festival.

“…to create a village where we can camp and live and have an experience for the weekend that may or may not be unique but which is a driving force to take back to wherever you go,” he added.

He also added that they want to start a programme where they are able to involve the young people and other residents of the Rupununi to utilise reusable materials to create permanent art around the areas so that as persons visit the festival annually there are different and new attractions.

Delivering remarks on behalf of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Permanent Secretary Alfred King said that they are “proud and happy” to participate in an event that speaks to development in its “true context.”

He added that he wanted to encourage the preservation of indigenous culture, the empowering of people to do business with their various talents and skills and the empowering of people to sustain their livelihood and to ensure and support the entire concept of short term engagement, which will influence the growth of the community and village economy.

“As you know, over 80 persons are likely to be employed during this period and we want to ensure the legacy and that they will be well trained so that they can provide the tourism back up that we are expecting over a long period of time,” he added.

Under the slogan: one people, one place, one experience, which is in line with the motto of the country, the aim of the festival is to increase the number of visitors that come to Guyana from all parts of the world, which the organizers hope can eventually rise and gain a place on the global tourism calendar.

The event will feature performances from local artists such as:  Surama and other Cultural groups, Gavin Mendonca and Feed the Flames, Chucky, Jazz and Poetry on a Stool, Charlie DeFreitas, Tassa Drumming from the Dubraj group, Trevon Selma, Jackie Jaxx and other international artists and groups from Canada, Brazil and Venezuela.

Minister of Public Telecommunications Cathy Hughes also made brief remarks at the ending of the press conference and pledged her support for the event.

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