Growing up in Guyana, one of the many aspects of life here I found intriguing was the presence of a number of several larger-than-life characters found all over Georgetown.
It may seem a little over the top to say “sanctuary”, but in fact it’s not…that is precisely what Iwokrama is, imbedded in the very centre of Guyana, like a navel, but of course a huge one of many miles.
Way up, even farther up than even eye can spy A solitary drifting hawk marking out the sky Down below the manatee gone hunting for some grass And birdlife far too plenty now to pass.
Last week, with Kamala Harris named to run with Joe Biden in his presidential push, there was a powerful piece online about the significant role her father, Donald Harris, played in her development.
Like many Guyanese, I grew up with dogs as part of my home space, beginning at the village of Hague, West Demerara, where I was born and spent my early years and later at Vreed-en-Hoop, where we also had a dog.
If you’re fortunate enough to travel around the Caribbean, over time you meet individuals who make you proud to be a West Indian.
Any writer of a regular column will tell you of the variety of items that you put away, intended for another day.
Going back to the time I started playing music professionally, among the many good things that happened to me was that I developed a coterie of staunch friends, I would even describe them as allies, starting with my homeland Guyana, and reaching Canada, where Tradewinds began, the USA, and then, in no particular order, Grand Cayman, St.
It struck me recently that we become so caught up with all the myriad things that make up our individual lives that we are often unaware of how so many pieces in that maelstrom are operating almost automatically for us like signposts or landmarks that speak to us silently but vividly letting us know when we’re on course and when we’re not.
Curious monkey, up a tree Jumping up and down, a spree Only sound, a boatside paddle Two bosom friends and me Then Gunns Strip… way way down below, And Barima, way up high From Mazaruni, Vergenoogen, Eh heh, Imbaidmadai From Malgretout to Rosignol Schoonord to Lusignan From Windsor Forest to Mahaica From Wismar to Leguan From Crabwood Creek to Ituni And Paramakatoi All of that, yes all of that, Is Guyana, boy.
One of the benefits of my life as professional musician for over 65 years is that I’ve seen many different countries, some of which I have lived in, during my time – starting with Guyana, where I lived on the West Demerara, first at Hague, my birth place, then Vreed-en-Hoop, where the family moved when I was going to school in town – first at Sacred Heart High School on Main Street and then St.
On certain occasions, I use the space in this column to deal with a pressing subject using the expertise of someone proficient in that field.
My wife, Annette, who most people know from her dedication to environmental matters and Guyanese culture over the years, will occasionally rope me into some project she has going, and one of current ones involves her brainwave to do a video where she shows me a photograph from my life and gets me talking about it.
In my time as a writer of songs and plays and other stuff going back to 1966, I learned always to pay attention to feedback from the public.
One of my long-time friends, with whom I communicate by email fairly regularly, made a comment to me recently that I should remember to remain grateful for what has come to my life through music, and while I think I have done that to some degree, it can certainly bear repeating.
I have to declare that in the midst of all the high-tech life we’re enmeshed in these days, right in the very heart of it, like sitting in an airport lounge in North America recently, my mind, seemingly on its own, will take charge of me, like a tap on the shoulder, and send me back to some crystal clear memory (I’ve mentioned some of them before) that ends up slowing me for a few minutes, literally not moving, reliving what once was, photographs of life in some reservoir somewhere, some of them very old, but all of them crystal clear and sometimes suggesting music.
Basically, I come out of the song-writer mould, but every now and then a poem does come to me, as this one does today.
In the midst of all the woeful, I would even say daunting COVID-19 news landing on us, it is unfortunate that some of the more uplifting items pass virtually unnoticed, so purely from the good news angle, I’m citing three of the latter here.
A definite part of the writer makeup that surfaced in me very early in my youth is my fascination with certain words not in everyday use but carrying interesting shades of meaning or colour.
Given that I’m always scribbling notes regarding topics for upcoming columns, I occasionally end up with a number of short bits that don’t add up to a single cell but are still worthwhile fodder.