An integral part of the life of someone involved in the arts is the recognition or attention that comes from the public reacting to the particular area of the artist’s work.
In a recent exchange on social media, I ended up reminiscing about an impressive two-storey house at Schoonord, West Bank, Demerara, set back from the main road, known as Coghlan House, that was believed to be haunted.
As it is wherever one lives, a part of life in Guyana is the frequent complaints on various matters that confront us, day to day.
Across the media we’re exposed to in Guyana, one is seeing what seems to be a resurgence of the horrendous ill-treatment that Guyanese display towards animals and birds in their care and even to each other in their circle of family and friends.
This column today is, virtually word for word, something I wrote recently when a Tradewinds fan overseas, himself venturing into songwriting, wrote me, asking that I elaborate on the process to help him in his efforts.
It’s generally true for most folks that over the years, in the various areas of our life, we come to know individuals, or sometimes companies, that we turn to for our diverse needs based largely on the fact that we have come to value them for the standard of their work, to appreciate them for always “getting it right”.
I have been heard in recent times beating the drum for Caribbean people to take more notice of the achievers among us, but it is not a recent obsession.
Changes in the nature of what we refer to as our “popular music” of the day are part and parcel of the form.
It’s not new. I have sounded this trumpet before—on the need for us in the Caribbean to recognise the ones in our story, past and present, who have made significant contributions to the cultural fabric.
People ask me all the time about the experiences I have had since Tradewinds started.
One of Guyana’s most accomplished sons, Vibert Cambridge, a Professor at the University of Ohio, is one of those Georgetown people with whom I go way back.
I’m a farmer’s son – Pomeroon farmer, the late Joseph Francis Martins was my father – but the truth is I didn’t take much to planting as a youngster.
I cannot be sure it remains so today because I’m not around large numbers of young people constantly, but in my youth there was this definite impression among youngsters that life on the road, for a travelling musician, was a series of joyful experiences.
I did an interview this week with Sean Devers on the Kaieteur News radio station and someone asked about the keys to a career in music and my answer was “business.” They were surprised and that’s understandable.
We make a big pretence in the Caribbean to be this sophisticated person of the world, very much at home in the metropolitan areas to which many of us migrate but in fact we’re country people.
I made some noise in a recent column in this space regarding the need for Guyanese to publicly recognize the singular achievers among us, including some who have passed on, the purpose being to elevate our knowledge of the worth of our own and especially so that our youngsters would grow up knowing of people of worth in their past.
From young, growing up at Hague and Vreed-en-Hoop and with the occasional forays in the Pomeroon where my father had his farm, I was into words.
It frequently happens in Guyana that folks who stop me at various times to say thanks for the columns will often ask, “You do this every week, no breaks; how do you keep coming up with the topics?” In fact, as I perhaps mentioned before, it’s exactly like songs: ideas come from everywhere, sometimes out of left field, so that although I’ve been doing this for about 8 years now, it is a rare week when I’m in a panic because I have no subject in mind.
We have two dogs. Choo, now going on 10 years, is a German Shepherd mix who had arrived via our friend, Tony Pires, who spotted her in Brazil and realized she was perfect for us, looking for a dog.
When I say that England has played a major role in Caribbean life, I’m telling you something you already know, but when I tell you I wrote a song about missing England, that has to be news to you because I never lived in England.