Profiles of Caribbean Artistry

 

36 GUYANESE INDIVIDUALS & ORGANIZATIONS RECOGNIZED AT FOLK FESTIVAL

 

The organizers of Guyana Folk Festival II have identified thirty-six Guyanese individuals and institutions to receive the Guyana Folk Festival 2002 Wordsworth McAndrew Award. The award, named after the distinguished Guyanese folklorist Wordsworth McAndrew, is being awarded to the recipients for their contributions to Guyanese folk and popular culture.

 

The number 36 is reflective of the number of years of Guyana’s independence. Guyana became an independent nation on May 26, 1966.

 

The awardees were selected from over 400 names generated by a panel of Guyanese residing across the Guyanese Diaspora, including one living in Australia and another in Thailand.

 

The Guyana Folk Festival 2002 Wordsworth McAndrew Awardees are:

 

1. S.R.R. Allsopp. For his outstanding contributions to the study of English language in Guyana and the Caribbean, especially for compiling the Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage.

 

2. Ron Bobb-Semple. For his contributions to Guyanese theatre and drama in New York.

 

3. Johnny Braff: For his pioneering role in Guyanese popular music.

 

4. Maurice Braithwaite. For his role in promoting and supporting Guyanese art and culture. “The Braffit Basement” has become an important salon in Guyanese cultural life in New York.

 

5. Negla Brandis. For her exceptional contribution to Guyanese fashion and aesthetics for more than three decades in London, England; Connecticut; Washington, DC; New Jersey; and Guyana. Among her accomplishments is the Miss Guyana International Pageant.

 

6. E.R. Burrowes. For his contribution to the development of Guyanese artists. He can safely be described as the father of Art Education in Guyana. In 1948 he founded the Working Peoples Art class. The Burrowes School of Art is named after him.

 

7. Pat Cameron. Doyenne of Guyanese broadcasters. Host of the influential radio program On Show Young Guyana which helped to give recognition to the musical abilities of many young Guyanese. Also, a talented actor and an enthusiastic celebrator of Guyanese folk traditions

 

8. Martin Carter. One of Guyana’s greatest poets and renaissance men.

 

9. Bertie Chancellor. Broadcaster and Guyana’s Dick Clark–the “oldest teen-ager.” Bertie Chancellor is associated with radio talent shows in Guyana and through his program “Teensville” he launched the careers of many of Guyana’s talented musicians.

 

10. Megan Chan. For her unstinting service in running the Washington, DC – based organization GUYAID.

 

11. Nesbit Chhangur. Broadcaster, Songwriter, band leader, youth leader, and teacher. Nesbit Chhangur can safely be described as the pioneer of country music in Guyana. With Olga Lopes Seales he hosted on Radio Demerara the shows Berbice Calling and Olga Singing. His songs, A Guianese Lament and Call to Guiana, are the most poignant record of the racial crisis of the 1960s and an eloquent example of the healing power of music. Chhangur lives in Canada and performs internationally.

 

12. Dem Two. Dem Two is Ken Corsbie and Marc Matthews. Individually and collectively, Ken and Marc have made sterling contributions to theatre and the spoken word in Guyana, the Caribbean, and across the Guyanese Diaspora.

 

13. Lynette Dolphin. Outstanding cultural administrator and collector of Guyanese folk music. She published several collections of Guyanese music. Her last was 100 Folk Songs of Guyana.

 

14. Francis Quamina Farrier. Broadcaster, Playwright, Documentary producer, and archivist. Pioneered radio serial drama in British Guiana with the Tides of Susanburg.

 

15. Robert Fernandes. Important and influential photographer of Guyana’s hinterland.

 

16. Terry Gajraj. Pioneer and innovator of Chutney music. Has attracted critical acclaim for the Chutney rendition of many of Guyana’s folk songs.

 

17. Roy Geddes. Dedicated steel band leader. In 2003, he will celebrate 50 years as a band leader. He is considered by many to be the most proficient of tuners. He has single handedly created a museum to steel band at his home in Roxanne Burnham Gardens, Georgetown.

 

18. Gary Girdhari. For his role in mobilizing Guyanese writers and publishing. Gary Girdhari is President, Association of Artists and Writers and Editor of Guyana Journal.

 

19. Eddie Grant. Internationally acclaimed popular singer and record producer. According to David Rudder, Eddie Grant is one of the two Guyanese who influenced the direction of calypso in the Caribbean.

 

20. Stanley Greaves. For his work as a teacher and artist. Stanley Greaves celebrated Guyana fauna and folk life in his paintings. Stanley Greaves is associated with the creation of the term “Guyanist”—one who has an undying love for Guyana.

 

21. Bernard Heydorn. Psychologist, Educator, novelist, and cultural researcher. A prolific and insightful observer of Guyana social and cultural environment. His vision is not anchored in Georgetown but incorporates the Berbice experience. His books Walk Good Guyana Boy, Longtime Days, and Unlit Roads are essential and accessible readings for anyone wishing to explore Guyana’s heritage.

 

22. Peter Kempadoo. For his pioneering work in the documentation of Guyanese folk music. He created Jarai Productions which produced the influential collection We Kind Of Folk. That collection helped to popularize the important folk song “Dis time na lang time.”

 

23. Vivian Lee. Broadcaster, Public Relations expert, Songwriter, and Cultural Promoter. An important creative spirit in Guyana. Created the famous radio character Mrs. Snodgrass and wrote the lyrics for Down at the bottom floor popularized by Lord Canary. Promoted national and international musicians. Produced one for the early Guyanese film, the musical comedy, If Wishes Were Horses. Also a pioneer in the Guyanese recording industry.

 

24. Ivor Lynch. For his untiring work as a musician and promoter of Guyanese music on-line.

 

25. Wordsworth McAndrew. Broadcaster, Folklorist, poet. It may not be an exaggeration to say that he has been one of the most influential folklorists in Guyanese history.

 

26. Dave Martins. Leader of the internationally famous group Dave Martins and the Trade Winds. Dave Martins is a living legend. His songs celebrate Guyana. His Not a Blade of Grass is a national anthem.

 

27. Sister Noel Menezes. Educator and Historian. Expert on the history of Portuguese in Guyana. Retired as Chair, Department of History at the University of Guyana.

 

28. Valerie Rodway. Teacher and prolific music composer. Among her compositions is “O Beautiful Guyana.”

 

29. Bill “Bhagee” Rogers. The Shanto King of Guyana. Had international hits with The Weed Song and BG Bhagee. His works provide a valuable lens through which to observe Guyanese life in the early decades of the 20th century.

 

30. Olga Lopes Seales. Pioneer of radio broadcasting. Responsible for exposing musical talent in Berbice. Equally successful as a broadcaster in Barbados.

 

31. A.J. Seymour. A literary giant. His Dictionary of Guyanese Biography was the first effort to identify influential Guyanese across the ages. A.J. Seymour has had an influence on most aspects of culture in Guyana.

 

32. Raj Kumari Singh. Poet, playwright, fiction writer, and cultural innovator. Universally recognized as a leading figure in East Indian cultural matters and bold explorer of fusion. Her poems such as The days of the Sahib articulated the hopes and ambitions of Guyanese people in the post emancipation era.  Singh played an influential role in the cultural development in the Guyana National Service where she influenced music. Her influence is evident on the Guyana National Service record album I want to Build.

 

33. Shurland “King Fighter” Wilson. Along with the Mighty Sparrow, King Fighter was a founding member of the Young Brigade, a group of calypsonians who had indelible influence on modern calypso. King Fighter drew upon Guyanese folk melodies and lyrics to develop his calypsos. He won international fame with Sookie. According to David Rudder, King Fighter is one of the two Guyanese who influenced the direction of calypso in the Caribbean. The other is fellow awardee, Eddie Grant

 

34. The Atlanta Guyana Association. For the annual organization of Guyana Day in Atlanta, Georgia. The annual gathering celebrates Guyanese family life.

 

35. The Link Show for over two decades one of the most expected moments in Guyanese satirical theater. The Link Show is a production of The Theatre Company. The principal officers of The Theatre Company are Ron Robinson and Gem Madhoo.

 

36. The Rajkumari Cultural Center. For its contribution to preserving and sharing Guyanese East Indian heritage, especially in the areas of music, dance, poetry. The principals of this New York-based organization are Taij Kumarie Moteelall, Pritha Singh, and Karna Singh.