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28Apr/10

Record number of tourists expected for Jamzone 2010!

The organizers of the Jamzone Summer Break and Beach Pageant are anticipating a record-setting influx of both domestic and international tourists for this year's Jamzone events.
The Hits and Jams Entertainment team is very optimistic about the outcome of this year's activities since the project will undergo major changes to create a more splendid experience.

"Last year approximately 50,000 persons attended the events over the four- day span however; we estimate a definite 60% increase in that statistic. Based on the convenient dates, hotels and airline representatives that have shown eager interest in Jamzone and the fact that delegates from around the Caribbean will be included in the Inaugural Miss Jamzone International Pageant we are confident that the amount of tourists will increase drastically", said Hits and Jams Director Kerwin Bollers.

The event which took a new format last year provides local and international tourists with four days of super concerts which include some of the biggest names in the local and international music industry and the renowned beach party and pageant.

26Apr/10

First ‘Guyana Artistic Music Awards’ an excellent concept

But many artistes were no-shows

Henry RodneySaturday night at the National Cultural Centre proved an eye opener of the serious interest or lack there of, for the development of a Guyanese music industry. It was a night that offered honour to Guyanese musicians and entertainers past, current and future at the first local staging of the Guyana Artistic Music Awards.

Disappointing, however, was the very poor attendance that left most of the nation's Premier entertainment theatre void of patrons; but those who attended left a satisfied bunch.
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It is safe to conclude that attendance was not of the best and maybe the plethora of reggae artistes onstage could have been trimmed. But the event had its plusses as a refreshing and differently executed entertaining affair.

The curtain opened with honouree, Aubrey Mann, taking patrons back in time with his Oldie but Goldie; "Stealing love on the side" and some other classics. There were other memorable performances such as Mark Bryan dishing the 80s favourite "Sharon, Sharon gyal ah wah yah doing to yah self..." in a canary yellow body hugging all-in-one jump suit that sent the audience into a fit of  celebratory cheers as  he  gyrated  and pranced  around the stage.

Johnny Braff, who is now 72, and who received an honorary award, was a burst of humorous energy as he delivered an unaccompanied version of the hit 'It burns inside.' There were the more memorable acts from Donna Makeeda, and a slew of others including up and coming artistes.

Presentations were done by Mandela, Cyborg, Redemption, Daddy Rusty, Kappa Shanti, Fire Fred, Stephen Dunbar as well as the Hooper clan such.

The Mighty Rebel also received an honorary award for his contribution to calypso and he also offered true showmanship with one of his hits.

Awards

Mighty RebelGuyanese singing sensation, Jumo Primo, who has been involved in music from boyhood days, won himself a Guyana Artistic Music Awards crystal for being the Best Male Artiste among nine nominees.

He knew that he was a nominee but while he was not certain of his chances against the likes of three Soca monarchs, beyond the call of duty he assisted backstage to ensure that the show flowed smoothly.

The artiste, who is popularly known as 'rubber waist', in receiving the award from US- based, Yonette Hooper, expressed gratitude at the honour, and shared the disappointment he felt that local artistes did not see it fit to attend the event set aside to serve as an encouragement to their craft.

Nonetheless he told the appreciative audience "I stand here as the ambassador for those who are absent and I hope that the event gets more support next time around."

The other nominees in that category included Kross Kolor camp members Adrian Dutchin, Lil Man (B52), and reigning Soca Monarch Bones Man, as well as Marlon 'Malo' Webster, Mark Batson, 24K (Sheldon Braithwaite) and Antigua-based Sparkey Drakes.

Save for Primo, none attended the awards show. Dutchin is in the USA, while Batson and Webster are on active duty on Cruise ships.

US-based Guyanese artiste, Yonette Hooper won the Best Female award, pipping no show nominees such as Big Red, Cyd Hooper, Shelly G and Melissa Vanilla Roberts.

JumoTelevision and radio personality, Kester Dean, who is known for his fiery, unswerving delivery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ dancehall and reggae style, as well as Cherylyn Maloney of 'Don't Give up' fame, took home GAMA crystals for being the best local Gospel artistes.

Nominated in the same category as Eddie Neblett, Solid Youth and Anil Azeez; Dean, in accepting the award expressed disappointment at the apparent boycott of the event by local artistes and entertainment stakeholders such as producers and promoters.

He however felt encouraged that his work and contribution to the Guyanese music repertoire was being honoured in his hometown and lauded the efforts of the organisers for going the course despite the many obstacles.

"This is a good thing for Guyanese and it serves as an encouragement when you are recognised for your work and I will continue to support it because it offered me a great chance to network and I do see the bigger picture".

Maloney was absent but her husband collected the award on her behalf. Neblett is in the USA preparing to launch a new album, while Azeez is in Trinidad.

Rajesh Dubraj, the 2009 Chutney monarch and Fiona Singh were adjudged the best Chutney singers in the male and female contests. None was in the audience   to collect the crystals.

Jory who recently launched his first mix tape and is popular for his 'ah de real thing' slogan was adjudged the best newcomer while Timeka Marshall, who was in Barbados for the Reggae on the Hill show, won the Best female artiste in the Reggae Dancehall category over Celeste David, Shelly G and Canada-based Donna Makeeda.

Fojo was adjudged the Best Male Reggae Dancehall category winner over artistes the likes of Alabama, Jory, Colin I, and Kapa Shanti.

Makeeda won the female category in the Reggae Culture category over Guyanese Cyd Hooper while US-based Reggae singer, Zebulun, won the male category.

Eddy Grant and Habeeb Khan both were announced as Lifetime Achievement Award honourees, while a crystal for International Music ambassador was announced for Jamaica-based Natural Black.

Other honorary awards were also handed out Eze Rockcliffe, Celia Samaroo, Pamela Maynard, Bonny Alves, Henry Rodney, Neisha Benjamin, Bappi Roopchand, Gordon Bevaughn, Pat Semple, Ras Camo Williams, Sammy Baksh and the Mighty Blue Flame.

Yesterday, the common explanation given regarding why locals were not intricately involved was that the event's CEO, Sherlock Shephard "did not follow or honour all the protocols," was a bit "disorganised" and "there was a break down in communication at many levels."

Burchmore Simon told this publication yesterday that he had initial communications with Shepherd as did other local stakeholders, months in advance, but he (shepherd) never got back to them in a timely fashion.

Another said his team did not attend because the invitations to the event were received at about 16:00hrs on the day of the show.

24Apr/10

All set for Guyana Artistic Music Awards

On Sunday local and Diaspora-based Guyanese music and entertainers are set to gather at the National Cultural Centre for the Guyana Artistic Music Awards, GAMA.

All told more than 90 nominees will be in contention in 34 categories for a GAMA crystal that honours their work and contribution to the development of Guyanese music repertoire.

Contrary to popular belief singers will not be the only ones collecting crystals as actors and Comedians are among the nominees.

GAMA Chief Executive Officer, Sherlon Shepherd, amidst his call for Guyanese artistes to come out and show support for their own, reiterated that the event is aimed at showcasing Guyanese talent musically while saying thank you to the people that make life more worthwhile and stress free.

"Come out and support your own and experience a packed programme of quality entertainment from Guyanese at home and from countries such as Canada and the USA as well as from some Caribbean countries," Shepherd said.

More importantly, the event is focussed on creating a network amongst Guyanese entertainers in the Diaspora and encourage local artiste to stick to the task of insuring that the Guyanese voice and creativity is kept alive.

The categories up for contention include Best Soul, RnB, Hip Hop, Dancehall Reggae, Culture Reggae, Soca, Chutney, Gospel and Calypso as well as folk. There are also awards for comedians, community workers, entrepreneurs, music producers and engineers as well as promoters and editors.

But there will also be lifetime achievement awards for Eddie Grant and Habeeb Khan, while Natural Black is this year's international music ambassador. This publication hears that First Born will be among the entertainers up for awards.

The GAMA CEO said without bias based on the selection process, that most Guyanese artistes whose music moved from national to international airtime over the years, will be honoured.

The younger artistes such as Timeka Marshall and Shelly G, as well as Tennecia DeFreitas and Vanilla are also among the nominees, as is Alabama.

The winners will all take home customized GAMA crystals.

The other GAMA committee members include founder Randolph Waterman, CEO of "Randolph's Building and Renovation Company"; Elton Joseph, CEO of "Nortel Upholstery"; and Andrew Francis, CEO of "Ark Plumbing Inc."

The GAMA is a production of the Guyana Canadian Artistic Entertainment group GCAE and was created after the President and other members of GCAE realized that many "Guyanese artists living abroad had and are making strides in the entertainment industry without anyone saying thank you or honouring them and we created this event to honour Guyanese artists worldwide," Shepherd said.

He added, "After presenting the first GAMA in Toronto, Canada, we realized that we were only connecting with Guyanese artists in Canada and the USA, when there are Guyanese artists in many different countries making their mark on the Entertainment scene and so we decided to include Guyanese artists from other countries too to make this a truly Guyanese event."

The GCAE CEO said, too, that his committee decided that Guyana is the fittest place to stage the Awards because "it is strictly a Guyanese Awards show and we wanted to honour not only the Guyanese artists living abroad but also the Guyanese artists living in Guyana.

Having so far experienced the unwillingness of corporate Guyana to support this venture Shepherd refuses to conclude that "Guyanese don't believe in their own because the artistes are all here as a sign of support for networking and honouring our own and it's now up to the public to come out to the National Culture Centre on Sunday April 25 and show solidarity".

Meanwhile several other Guyana-born artistes based in Canada and the USA have arrived and are optimistic that they will get the local support to build a "Guyanese music network".

24Apr/10

GT&T Kids Stage – Second Quarter Finals

Much hype is being created by the Cellink Kidstage contenders showcasing that Guyanese tots and teens are as equally talented as their senior counterparts. The result is that the organisers are poised to take the event a notch higher.

Quarterfinal competitions started on April 10. The second was tagged on April 17 and the other is carded for April 24.

On April 17, a most memorable quarter final was staged at the Theatre Guild and those who competed in the categories out of Essequibo and Georgetown were most competitive. These 15 contestants are currently awaiting public votes to determine who moves forward to the semi finals.

The judge's scores make up 80 percent of the total, the studio audience and the public have 10 percent each to contribute to their favourite contestant.  Members of the public have every Sunday after the programme is broadcast until Thursday night to vote for their favourite performer. To vote, members of the public can text the contestants' number to 620-kids (5437).

However, patrons in attendance for the live show are required to write the names and contestant number at the back of their tickets and submit these after the show.

Cellink Kidstage, a talented programme for children between the ages of 4 and 14, is aired every Sunday evening at 20:00 h on NCN channel 11.

Performed in the 8 to10 category last Saturday were some exceptional pieces such as Prospective Beauty Queen done by Alliah Corlette, and African Drumming done by Osei Clarke among others.

In the 11 to14 category performances included patriotic presentations like Without the Essequibo, done by Kevon Lewis; Berbician Schemona Trinidad presented After God's own heart and Essequibian Anuradha Frank presented her interpretation of an Indian song titled Heartbeat.

After the second quarterfinal competition, children from that segment are anxiously awaiting the results. Some have even commenced rehearsals with high hopes of entering the semi finals which starts on May 1, 2010.

The Cellink Kidstage preliminary winners are Teryka Mohabir, Shani Bellamy, Children of Paradise, Shaquille Boyd, The Cambridge Family, Tamara Smith, Alpha Harry, Naomi Alsopp and Carlissa Blair from Linden.

They will each receive $5, 000 and an on stage place for the third quarterfinals on Saturday at the Theatre Guild, Kingston, commencing at 13:00hrs

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24Apr/10

Sonia Noel’s model search begins

ModelsThe road to the staging of Sonia Noel's annual 'Model Search', began on Thursday evening at the poolside of the Tower Hotel on Main Street. Headed by Sonia Noel the reality Television search goes beyond finding Guyana's next top male and female models to also finding new stylists and designers.

Donning mostly black attire the model hopefuls were introduced to the public as a prelude to what Noel and her committee is promising will be "a most memorable and entertaining ride." While there were some physical misfits among the group there were also a few diamonds in the rough that made their debut. All told there are 13 men in contention for the top prize that includes opportunities to model on international stages. The lot included one popular basket ball player Tyrone Hamid, a few ripped models, several over made up men and others who took to cosmetics well. The others in contention for the 2010 Guyana's top male model title are Anthony Stayman, Stayton Paul, Darren Mc Almont, Steven Bagot, Javier Boucher, Osafa Dos Santos, Jason Shurland, Germaine Adonis, Steve Merai, Esau Humphrey, Dellon Renee and Ryan Berkeley.

There are 14 ladies vying for the coveted title of female top model 2010 including Alana Phoenix, Alicia Kirton, Amanda Hackett, Alisa Williams, Amanda Hackett, Alisa Williams, Gerecia Francis, Jo-Ann Tracey, Melvern John, Okeema Humphrey, Patricia Forde, Shivonna Corrdus, Jenelle Dougall and Shevon Cotty.

The lot which paraded at the poolside included a full figured bunch that will certainly not be an easy walk over especially the most bubbly Lucianna James who despite her full figure strutted with erect shoulders and personality that sounded a 'watch out' warning to all ladies. She exuded such confidence that overshadowed the stretch marks on her shoulders while there was one model whose choice of attire emphasized her need for serious leg work in the gym.

There too, were a few full figured ladies who are certainly serious about redefining the stereotypical European look of a slender leggy lady on the cat walk to one of equally if not more zing that says 'big is beautiful too'.  The plus sized models in contention for the new addition to the competition are Tristana Roberts, Pamela Vaugh, Lydia Evans, Adeola Field, Okesa Lynch, Latoya Whitehead and Michon Sukhoo-Perta.

But there are a few who will certainly be competing down to last wire with personality and posture as they showed with ease that they mean business on the catwalk.

Noel assures that "rigorous training will intensify" under the stewardship of Trinidadian Richard Younge and some will be eliminated.  She also let up that the designers; stylist and Chefs have already been given their first challenge.

Noel assures too that elimination for the models will begin next week but noted that the Chefs and designers will not be immediately elimination.

Those hoping to keep updated on the reality show can catch it from next month on NCN and Hjtv TV-72 for six Weeks.

The next major event 'Cutting style' will be staged on June 27 and on that occasion designers will be paired with a Chef to produce an evening of Creativity. The events final staging is set for July 4 at the Pegasus.

The eight designers are Jonelle Cameron, Bethani Chester, David Clarke (the converted former assistant from the Facts N Roses camp), Sharon Gittens, Nataisia John, Micheal Kellman, Jamal LaRose, and Candacy Mclean.

The Culinary Arts Chefs making their debut in the new competition category are Shawna Mc Rae, Samantha Moseley, Gail Davidson, Mohamed W Karim, Rhea Sandy,  Lynne Inniss, Adrian Alleyne and Shem Hinds.

By Mondale Smith

20Apr/10

Canada-based ‘Daddy Rusty’ comes home for GAMA

Daddy Rusty"It's a great idea to give people flowers while they are alive and so I'm on the boat in the interest of the development of the Guyanese music industry as an artiste," says Sherlock Whyte, aka Daddy Rusty.

He and 21 other artistes based in the Diaspora, including Aubrey Mann, Donna Makeeda, Zebulun De Counsellor, Kapa Shanti, Prince Ally and Mandela Manning etc. support the cause of the Guyanese Canadian Artistic Entertainment to create a network of Guyanese artistes and entertainers the world over.

Though not as popular in Guyana as he is in the Canadian Guyanese circles, after 10 years away from the local scene, the Berbice-born, Daddy Rusty, has returned home to support the development of the industry as has the other Diaspora-based artistes.

Like the rest, he will be part of the Guyana Musical Sunsplash carded for April 24 at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, then on April 25 he will be among the awardees at the Guyana Artistic Music Awards.

Daddy Rusty started singing and spinning records as a boy in Guyana on his brother's sound system.  At age ten, he joined the church choir and thereafter began entering a few music and Deejay competitions, which led him on a journey to becoming an artiste.

In 1990, Daddy Rusty relocated to Canada to further his music career and has since won several awards and trophies internationally.

His first single "Teach the youth" was distributed by Tuff Gong records, Bob Marley's company in Jamaica, and was voted Top Reggae Single at the Canadian Reggae Music Awards.  In 2004, he released his first CD titled "Love and Unity" which was very successful and won many awards.

He is no stranger to the entertainment industry, and has shared the stage with several well-known international artistes including: the Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose, Rupee, Bunji Garlin, Shurwayne Winchester and Machel Montano also Reggae artistes like Beenie man, Morgan Heritage, Everton Blender and Elephant Man.

Rusty has toured Europe and the United States, where he performed at the World Reggae Music Awards in Atlanta and has made appearances in several Caribbean countries.

Daddy Rusty has a new CD dubbed "Bless Me" which he believes can be an inspiration to the young people anywhere.

It is due out in August. Now that Rusty is finally recording this kind of music, he realises that it's the direction that he was always originally supposed to move in. "I believe that the music coming out of Guyana is great and I hope that the relevant authorities will recognise this and work towards making sure that the artistes and producers get their dues through the implementation of copy rights legislation."

Like the others, he is encouraging Guyanese music lovers to come out and support their own. Also cared to perform are Major Joe B aka the Firenese, Jumo, Shelly G, Vanilla and First Born.

By Mondale Smith

20Apr/10

Guyana Artistic Music Award fires up – More artistes arrive

Starz ThisPromoters going it alone

With ideas to showcase and honour Guyanese musicians and create a network, major financial sacrifices and the backing of 21 Guyanese artistes from 13 countries in the diaspora; the Guyana Artistic Music Awards sounds like an excellent package. Its sponsorship package deal offers are relative as compared to the many mega shows that featured no show international artistes. But this idea being sold by Canada based promoter Sherlock Shepherd and his team is not getting the support that it should have gotten from Corporate Guyana nor local promoters, entertainers and to a lesser extent the local media.

Thus far there are no sponsors and this publication understands that the lone sponsor that was on board pulled out at the last minute.

That is not all, even some of the local artistes who have been listed as possible honorees have not responded favourably, and they often complain that they are not getting recognition.  According to Shepherd this is not because of any negative vibe on his group's part. " We believe that there is as deliberate attempt to frustrate this effort by persons known and unknown but we will persevere and prove ourselves as genuine people who believe in honouring and celebrating our own while they are alive with no strings attached. America and Canada and most countries do it so on Saturday April 25we will; come what may, Shepherd said.

As the countdown to the first annual Guyana Musical Splash and the Guyana Artistic Music Awards continue the promoter is reporting that there are some teething problems but they are assuring that the "show must and will go on".

"We thought this would have been easy and Guyana; corporate and otherwise would have bought into it but with a few days to go we have no response," Shepherd said

They have thus far invested a tardy sun and are still spending to make this happen even as we await sponsorship. We had one which pulled out at the last minute but we are not fazed we believe that the public will support their own."  He personally refuses to conclude that "Guyanese don't believe in their own because the artistes are all here as a sign of support for networking and honouring our own and its now up to the public to come out to the National Culture Centre on Saturday April 25 and show solidarity.

Meanwhile several more Guyana born artistes based in Canada and the USA have arrived and are optimistic that they will get the local support to build a Guyanese music network.

Yesterday, this publication met with Redemption, Kapa Shanti, Cyborg, Yontte Hooper and Donna Makeeda; some of the artistes and they are all excited about being back home and about the events.

Donna Makeeda back after 11years...ready to network and share music

Canada based Donna Makeeda a singer and magazine producer grew up and has won several international awards for her musical abilities in Kwakwani but she has not been home in 11 years. "I've live in Canada for quite a while but there is no place like home so I'm home to perform for my people," she said yesterday.

She said when she heard of the idea for the awards and the Guyana Musical Splash she became excited and encouraged that someone has taken on the mantle to create a network for musicians and also honour their own on home soil.

She said she is encouraged by the music she hears coming out of Guyana and added that back in the day "we did not have that many studios and artistes popping up but this I believe will ensure that locals and Guyanese artistes internationally are honoured and encouraged. So my being her is two fold: to promote my music and to also promote the idea of the need for a united music industry where we can network to all our benefit."

She is asking for local officials to realise the talent Guyana possess and harness it in a regulated industry where stake holders get their just deserts.

Kapa shanti gives up Germany show to come home after 24 years

US based Guyanese singer Kapa Shanti aged 35 has not been home since 1986 and the former Craig East Bank Demerara resident said "Guyana is like the closest thing to heaven and the people are really warm and friendly, its feels great to be home."

Speaking to this publication yesterday he said he was on a card to perform in Germany with other artistes but cleared his calendar after he heard of the Guyana Musical Splash. "I'm ready to perform and give my people a taste me as I also experience the local boys, girls and veterans that are resident here.

The Guyana Musical Splash caught my attention first then when I heard of the Awards I said this is  historical and come what may I've  got to be in Guyana and here I am to perform, hopefully win an award and  also build   the networking bridge for Guyanese music," the elated  artiste said.

In his musical career thus far he has produced one album titled Kapa Shanti as well as a mix tape and is currently working on a single as well as a few music videos. Of Guyanese music he said though it has not hit mainstream he likes the sounds coming out of his homeland and hopes that local artistes do not loose faith that one day the relevant legislation will be in place to their benefit. I'm not an authority on music but based on my interaction thus far with my Guyanese brothers and sisters in the entertainment struggle I found that they repeatedly say that their music is being shelved and ignored by radio and television Deejays for foreign music.

In his appeal he said "our music and its stake holders will only be able to develop, maintain their families, be encouraged to produce more at a better standard and quality and hit main stream if we create a demand.  This is done by making the music popular Deejays please make an extra effort to help your own." He also encouraged Guyanese to come out on April 23 and 25 and be part of the start of a Guyanese musical revolution.

Redemption ready to redeem

With a name like Redemption US based reggae artistes Colin Nigel Simpson said he is home to support this "all Guyanese effort- the Guyana Artistic Music Awards." The Lindener who became popular in Georgetown as the singing ital seller said too that he's excited about the idea of "Guyanese honouring Guyanese in the music industry on home soil." Reflecting he had his share of "fight downs" in his efforts to get studio time at home, not because he couldn't sing but because he did not have the right linkage.

The positive vibes artiste who has an album out titled 'Redemption: Good Health Long life' expressed the hope that this event helps to confirm to all the studios, artistes and music producers "that fighting down artistes and sidelining them does not help to build an industry and we need to unite to charter a way forward so we can actually reap the benefits and create a Guyanese network."  He said too that he fully supports the GAMA and that's we he came home. "I'm a firm believer that we as Guyanese peoples are talented and can make this work. This is an event to build on and we will reflect on in years to come.

19Apr/10

Mandela Manning back home on a musical mission

Mandela ManningHaving not performed in Guyana for more than a year, Canada based Guyanese artiste Matussala Mandela Manning is anticipating "great things" to unfold for artistes as a spin off from the inaugural Guyana Musical Summer Splash and the Guyana Artistic Music Awards. They are slated for staging at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on April 24 and the National Cultural Center on April 25.

The artiste said "performing on home soil with a real purpose that goes beyond entertaining is the best experience one can have". He said he boarded the plane to Guyana last Friday from Canada not because "I believe that events like the Musical Splash and the GAMA awards mean that Guyanese artistes have something to look forward to no matter where they are and it also provides a golden opportunity for networking which can only work to build the music industry."

Of the two shows,  he said Guyanese are not  know for coming out to support their own but he is optimistic and is hoping that people will come out and ensure that the promoters and the artistes are encouraged to make the event an annual affair.

Manning said "Some might see this event as a joke thing but to me it's a motivator for artistes and writers and producers to create more Guyanese music that would eventually hit mainstream. This I as well as the other artistes from the USA, Canada and other parts of the world believe whole heartedly can and will happen on united front that's why we are here."

Years ago Manning became popular on stage shows for performing singles such as 'Teach the youth', 'don't look for me' which he did with Little Lexus, and 'Ruff and Tuff.' But the most popular hit was 'Rally round' done with the internationally acclaim Steel Pulse band.

When asked about a possible album release he said in time to come he will release an album from his collection of singles. He recently released in Canada singles such as Survive-don't make them stop yah', 'Woe Wicked man' and 'Journey'. He's also working on a song titled 'back way officer' that reprimands police ranks who break the laws as opposed to enforcing in their selfish  drive for  wealth.  Of the shows he said patrons should "look for high energy entertainment from me because while the road ahead is long I've matured musically".

Starting at age nine, Mandela has progressed and continues to surprise audiences with his lyrical potential and performances. As such it is no surprise that he could become a rated reggae artist especially since his life has always been one of musical influences from persons like his father Ras Sangie, who is also a reggae artist.

As a talented boy Mandela was called on stage by Maxi Priest in 1993 to perform and then later began to tour with Guyanese promoters Zico, Professor and Punk Sherlock on home soil.

Then he moved to bigger stages for shows such as Reggae Sun Splash and Sun Fest in `93/94 along side major artistes the likes of Steel Pulse. In `94 and 95 he sang as an act on Sun Splash and Sun Fest shows with backing from the Ruff Cut band.

In 1997 he went to the USA where Davie Simmons became his manager and the youth during that period played a staring role in Buju Banton's 'I wanna be loved' music video.

Incidentally, Buju Banton is one of his musical influences. After three years in the United States performing at many charities, benefits and mini shows he returned to Guyana in 2000.

He linked up with Guyanese artistes such as Negus Narine aka "Little Lexus" (now based in French Guyana) and began to make demo tapes in a bid to become popular. Then in late 2006 he migrated to Canada where he presently resides.

Once there Mandela met with Canada Based Albouystown boy Cyborg, and Ras Sangie at the Reflex Studio. In his words I'm moving from strength to strength and  I hope  to one day eventually hit main stream where I'll tell the world unapologetically that I'm a proud Guyanese because my music is here to stay.

18Apr/10

Linden beauty is Miss Atlanta Caribbean Carnival Queen 2010

Nikeisha PersaudNikeisha Persaud, 21, who was born in Linden and grew up in Mahaicony is now a Guyanese college student with a US pageant crown and title to be proud of.

On April 10, last, she proudly represented the Guyana Flag against several beauties of Caribbean countries and proved the best of the lot. For that, she was crowned Miss Caribbean Carnival Queen 2010 at the St. Philip A.M.E. Life Center Hall.

The pageant also featured intermittent Cultural presentations and was attended by a sizable gathering that represented the Caribbean Diaspora.

"Of course Miss Persaud did us all proud," said one member of the Guyana Association of Georgia. That association did make a contribution to assist with the expenses of her evening gown which from all reports "blew all of the other contestants out of the picture."

According to one report from an attendee, "she was unquestionably most elegant and in keeping with her most congenial prize win, I must say Nikeisha represented us to the fullest."

Despite two "glitches" she still won! It was a small setback during her talent segment when the audio system failed frequently thereby distorting her very dramatic recital of a poem she wrote and acted out on stage.

Despite these glitches she had the crowd's support. The crowd empathized with the audio shortages and exploded with loud claps at the end of the presentation.  The other snafu came at the question and answer part of the programme. The question asked about what she thought could be taken from the Civil Rights Law to improve Human Rights!

Nikeisha was brilliant enough to respond with a generalized advocacy that pleased the crowd which moaned at the clumsiness of the question when it was first asked, and, repeated at the request of Miss Persaud.

When the judges' final decision was announced; one woman said "My Golden Arrowhead was in the air and an unbelievable level of National Pride that sent me running up and down the hallway where I was seated."

According to one patron, "It was an evening I will remember for many years. Next, we celebrate big time publicly, come Memorial Weekend 2010 in ATL!
The other contenders were Jahlika Edwards-- Ms Dominica, Lauren Gibson-Fleming of St Thomas USVI, and Trisha James of Trinidad and Tobago. The pageant also featured competitions for a Junior Queen and a little Princess too.

18Apr/10

Natural Black to get GAMA International Music Ambassador Award

Natural BlackYears ago Guyanese Natural Black, during an interview, described his music as "positive and straight."

After weathering the storm to become an international Guyanese music ambassador who numbers among the selected few he did not get any of the Accolade Guyana Music Awards two years ago. But thanks to the Guyana artistic Music awards committee he is the lone Guyanese carded to receive an award on April 25, next, for being a true Guyanese international music ambassador.

Already some of the Diaspora-based artistes have arrived for the red carpet event carded for the National Cultural Centre and while corporate Guyana has not yet embraced the event "the show will go on", assures the coordinators.