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The music of Guyana encompasses a range of musical styles and genres that draw from various influences including: Indian, Latino-Hispanic, European, African, Chinese, and Amerindian music. Popular Guyanese performers include: Terry Gajraj, Harry Panday, Eddy Grant, Dave Martins & the Tradewinds (Johnny Braff, Ivor Lynch & Sammy Baksh), Aubrey Cummings and Nicky Porter, and Shameer Rahman. The Guyana Music Festival has proven to be influential on the Guyana music scene.
Guyana, officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America. It is often considered part of the Caribbean region because of its strong cultural, historical, and political ties with other Anglo-Caribbean countries and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, Venezuela to the west, and Suriname to the east. With an area of 215,000 square kilometres (83,000 sq mi), Guyana is the third-smallest sovereign state on mainland South America after Uruguay and Suriname.
Terry Vivekanand Gajraj is a Guyanese chutney, soca, and reggae artist.
Edmond Montague Grant is a Guyanese-British vocalist and musician. He was a founding member of the Equals, one of the United Kingdom's first racially integrated pop groups. He is also known for a successful solo career that includes the platinum single "Electric Avenue". He also pioneered the genre ringbang.
The electronic music scene in Guyana is quite still new. However there are a bunch of guyanese underground producers. With dubstep producer Esa Shaheed leading the pack. There's dj's like Fernando Yow aka (Dj Yow) and dj wolf who are also quite known on the EDM scene.
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.
Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South London in the late 1990s. It is generally characterized by sparse, syncopated rhythmic patterns with prominent sub-bass frequencies and epic breakdowns. The style emerged as an offshoot of UK garage, drawing on a lineage of related styles such as 2-step and dub reggae, as well as jungle, broken beat, and grime. In the United Kingdom, the origins of the genre can be traced back to the growth of the Jamaican sound system party scene in the early 1980s.
Electronic dance music (EDM), also known as dance music, club music, or simply dance, is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals. It is generally produced for playback by disc jockeys who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix by segueing from one recording to another. EDM producers also perform their music live in a concert or festival setting in what is sometimes called a live PA. In Europe, EDM is more commonly called 'dance music', or simply 'dance'.
Shanto is a form of Guyanese music which is related to both calypso and mento music. It became a major part of early popular music through its use in Guyanese vaudeville shows; songs are topical and light-hearted, often accompanied by a guitar.
Shanto is a form of Guyanese music, related to both calypso and mento. It became a major part of early popular music through its use in Guyanese vaudeville shows; songs are topical and light-hearted, often accompanied by a guitar.
Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid-19th century and eventually spread to the rest of the Caribbean Antilles and Venezuela by the mid-20th century. Its rhythms can be traced back to West African Kaiso and the arrival of French planters and their slaves from the French Antilles in the 18th century.
Mento is a style of Jamaican folk music that predates and has greatly influenced ska and reggae music. It is a fusion of African rhythmic elements and European elements, which reached his peak popularity in the 1940s and 1950s. Mento typically features acoustic instruments, such as acoustic guitar, banjo, hand drums, and the rhumba box — a large mbira in the shape of a box that can be sat on while played. The rhumba box carries the bass part of the music.
Calypso, which was imported from Trinidad and Tobago, is especially popular in Guyana. Calypso is satirical and lyrically-oriented, often played during celebrations like Mashramani, while chutney which is also imported from Trinidad and Tobago is played and performed at Indian events, usually with lyrics in Hindustani and English. Calypso is also singing out lyrics that have a meaning. Two musicians who sing songs with strong lyrics are Stella and Sparrow. Soca was also imported from Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country that is the southernmost nation of the West Indies in the Caribbean. It is situated 130 kilometres south of Grenada off the northern edge of the South American mainland, 11 kilometres off the coast of northeastern Venezuela. It shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.
Mashramani, often abbreviated to "Mash", is an annual festival that celebrates Guyana becoming a Republic in 1970. The festival, usually held on 23 February – Guyanese Republic Day – includes a parade, music, games and cooking and is intended to commemorate the "Birth of the Republic". In 2016, the Mashramani parade was held on May 26, the 50th anniversary of Guyana's independence, but the remainder of the celebration was held on the traditional February date.
Chutney music is a form indigenous to the southern Caribbean, popular in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa. It's a mixture of Bhojpuri music, and local(Trinidad) music. Chutney music emerged mid-20th century and reached a peak of popularity during the 1980s. Initially lyrics were religious in nature and typically sung by females. Several sub-genres have developed.
In Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname Chutney-Soca music is a crossover style of music incorporating Soca elements and Hindustani-English lyrics, and Chutney music with Indian instruments like the harmonium, tabla, dholak, and dhantal.
Suriname, officially known as the Republic of Suriname, is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers, it is the smallest sovereign state in South America. Suriname has a population of approximately 558,368, most of whom live on the country's north coast, in and around the capital and largest city, Paramaribo.
In Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, and Suriname, Chutney soca music is a crossover style of music incorporating soca and calypso elements and English, Hindustani, Bhojpuri and Hinglish lyrics, chutney music, with Western instruments such as the guitar, piano, drum set, and Indian instruments such as the dholak, harmonium, tabla, and dhantal.
Soca music is a genre of music that originated within a marginalized subculture in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1970s, and developed into a range of styles by the 1980s and later. Soca was initially developed by Lord Shorty in the early 1970s in an effort to revive traditional calypso, the popularity of which had been flagging amongst younger generations in Trinidad by the start of the 1970s due to the rise in popularity of reggae from Jamaica and soul and funk from USA. Soca is an offshoot of kaiso/calypso, with influences from Latin, cadence, funk and soul.
Indian music arrived with immigrants from South Asia. This originally included folk music played with dhantal, tabla, sitar, harmonium and dholak, and later - tassa drums. Music was mostly Hindu songs called bhajans, as well as filmi. The tan classical singing style is unique to the Indian community in Guyana and Suriname.
The music of India includes multiple varieties of classical music, folk music, filmi, Indian rock and Indian pop. India's classical music tradition, including Hindustani music and Carnatic, has a history spanning millennia and developed over several areas. Music in India began as an integral part of socio-religious life.
The tabla is a membranophone percussion instrument originating from the Indian subcontinent, consisting of a pair of drums, used in traditional, classical, popular and folk music. It has been a particularly important instrument in Hindustani classical music since the 18th century, and remains in use in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The name tabla likely comes from tabl, the Persian and Arabic word for drum. However, the ultimate origin of the musical instrument is contested by scholars, some tracing it to West Asia, others tracing it to the evolution of indigenous musical instruments of the Indian subcontinent.
The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used in Hindustani classical music. The instrument flourished under the Mughals, and it is named after a Persian instrument called the setar. The sitar flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in 18th-century India. It derives its distinctive timbre and resonance from sympathetic strings, bridge design, a long hollow neck and a gourd-shaped resonance chamber. In appearance, the sitar is similar to the tanpura, except that it has frets.
Popular Indo-Caribbean music began with the Surinamese star Ramdew Chaitoe in the late 1950s with his album, The Star Melodies of Ramdew Chaitoe, and accelerated with that country's Dropati and, later, Trinidad's Sundar Popo. It was not until the late 1970s, however, that Neisha Benjamin, the first major Indo-Guyanese performer, began releasing hits like "O'Maninga". She often addressed political issues, like the socialist policies of Forbes Burnham of the People's National Congresswhich were perceived as oppressing the Indian community because restrictions on flour and dall (split peas). Neisha was mainly a singer of love songs.
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady. Reggae is based on a rhythmic style characterized by regular beats on the off-beat, known as the skank. Reggae is normally slower than ska, and usually has accents on the first and third beat in each bar.
Reggae song lyrics deal with many subjects, including religion, love, sex, peace, relationships, poverty, injustice, and other social and political issues.
Sammy Baskh is one famous Guyanese musician and entertainer. Sammy Baksh was known to be one of the Guyanese proponents of rock-reggae fusion music. He is well regarded for his song from the 1980s titled, “To Be Lonely”. One member of his lineup was a guitarist named Azad Mohamed, who toured across Guyana with him. Baksh, as well as Mohamed are currently working on new music in hopes of revitalizing their careers as musicians.
El Sadiek & De Sugar Cake Girls from Guyana was a unique formation of entertainers, singers, dancers, musicians including the Sugar Cake Girls - Fiona, Sarah and Kamla. The diversity of El Sadiek music repertoire of Filmi, Chutney, Soca, Reggae, Hip Hop, and Soul music. El Sadiek lead keyboard player, Shabana, is the only female Indian keyboard player in Guyana and perhaps the Caribbean. El Sadiek also includes the singer Kerida who Chutney and Filmi beats. Other talented lead singers were Sheik and Dj Poopsie.
Esa Shaheed is a producer, from Guyana. Genres he's associated with includes, Dubstep, Trap, Future Bass, Moombahton and Various other genres including Hip Hop.
Shaheed is seen as the successor to Guyanese producer Mad Professor.
Guyana is home to many unique music traditions, but music has tended to receive little support in schools. Music studies are offered as part of teacher training at CPCE, and a fledgling National School of Music was opened in 2012.
The music of Trinidad and Tobago is best known for its calypso music, soca music and steelpan. Calypso's internationally noted performances in the 1950s from native artists such as Lord Melody, Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow. The art form was most popularised at that time by Harry Belafonte. Along with folk songs and African- and Indian-based classical forms, cross-cultural interactions have produced other indigenous forms of music including soca, rapso, parang, chutney, and other derivative and fusion styles. There are also local communities which practice and experiment with international classical and pop music, often fusing them with local steelpan instruments.
Guyanese culture reflects the influence of Indian, African, Amerindian, British, Portuguese, Chinese, Creole, Latin American, and Dutch cultures. Guyana is one of a few mainland territories of South America that is considered to be a part of the Caribbean region. Guyanese culture shares many commonalities with the cultures of islands in the West Indies,.
The music of the Lesser Antilles encompasses the music of this chain of small islands making up the eastern and southern portion of the West Indies. Lesser Antillean music is part of the broader category of Caribbean music; much of the folk and popular music is also a part of the Afro-American musical complex, being a mixture of African, European and indigenous American elements. The Lesser Antilles' musical cultures are largely based on the music of African slaves brought by European traders and colonizers. The African musical elements are a hybrid of instruments and styles from numerous West African tribes, while the European slaveholders added their own musics into the mix, as did immigrants from India. In many ways, the Lesser Antilles can be musically divided based on which nation colonized them.
The music of Suriname is known for kaseko music, and for having an Indo-Caribbean tradition.
The music of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines includes thriving music scenes based on Big Drum, calypso, soca, steelpan and also reggae. String band music, quadrille, bélé music and traditional storytelling are also popular.
Ras Shorty I, born Garfield Blackman and also known as Lord Shorty, was a Trinidadian calypsonian and soca musician, known as the Father of Soca and The Love Man.
The culture of Trinidad and Tobago reflects the influence of Indian, European, Spanish, Jewish, Arab, and African cultures. The histories of Trinidad and Tobago are different. There are differences in the cultural influences which have shaped each island. Trinidad and Tobago is an English-speaking country with strong links to the United Kingdom.
Indo-Guyanese or Indian-Guyanese, are Guyanese nationals with heritage from South Asia. Most of the Indian indentured laborers who came to Guyana were from North India, specifically from the Bhojpur and Awadh regions in the Hindi Belt in the present-day states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand. A significant minority of the indentured laborers came from South India, especially from places in present-day Tamil Nadu. Indo-Guyanese are the largest ethnic group in Guyana identified by the official census, making up 39.8% of the population in 2012. There is also a large Indo-Guyanese diaspora in countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
The dhantal is a long steel rod based percussion instrument, which was adapted from the iron "bows" that yoked the oxen that pulled the carts on the estates in Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa. The original beater was an actual horseshoe, a shape which is still retained in the dhantal's modern context as a musical instrument. Its top may be blunt or tapered to a fine point to allow for greater resonance, and its end is shaped into a circle that rests on the ground, table, or other surface when it is played. It is usually about a meter long and 3/8" to 1/2" thick.
Drupatee Ramgoonai is an Indo-Trinidadian chutney and chutney soca musician. She was responsible for coining the term "chutney soca" in 1987 with her first album, entitled Chutney Soca, which included both English and Hindustani versions of the songs. She had her biggest hit the following year when her "(Roll Up the Tassa) Mr. Bissessar" was a Road March contender. She was instrumental in tassa and chutney soca finding its place in Carnival and her efforts later led to competitions such as Chutney Soca Monarch.
Sundar Popo HBM, born Sundarlal Popo Bahora was a Trinidadian and Tobagonian musician. He is credited as being the father of Chutney music, beginning with his 1969 hit "Nana and Nani".
Indo-Caribbean music is the musical traditions of the Indo-Caribbean people of the Caribbean music area. Indo-Caribbean music is most common in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, and Suriname.
The Southern Caribbean is a group of islands that neighbor mainland South America in the West Indies. St. Lucia lies to the north of the region, Barbados in the east, Trinidad & Tobago at its southernmost point, and Aruba at the most westerly section.
Baithak Gana is a form of music originating in Suriname by the Indian community. Baithak is a social gathering. It is a mix of Bhojpuri folk songs with other Caribbean influences. It is similar to Chutney music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago. The most popular exponent in Surinam of the genre were Ramdew Chaitoe and Dropati.
The Supertones Band is a West Indian band specializing in Chutney music, which is a very popular Caribbean music style with Indian influences.