A Culture Preserved

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Indigenous people from across Guyana congregated under the Benab in the compound of the Sophia Exhibition Centre to witness the Cultural Extravaganza showcase being held at the Heritage Village.

From dances to songs to small skits, the showcase pulled out all the stops for this year’s heritage celebrations, with most of the performances being done in the original language of the performers.

One such presentation came from Gloria Dewar out of Region 9, who is a singer and composer. She sang in her native tongue and gave us a brief explanation of what the song was about.

“My song is entitled, this is the way we live and I composed that song myself, and I sing it in my first language which is Macushi and I’m so proud to do it in my language, and the song is mainly about our decoration, what we use when celebrating our heritage celebration.”

The translation for her chorus is “We are here to celebrate; we are here to sing and we are here to dance come let us all celebrate.”

Gloria is but one of many of this year’s performers who are not only keeping the Indigenous languages alive but are incorporating it and showcasing it for all to hear and learn so that the culture can be preserved across generations.

Shonette Thompson, a singer, dancer, composer and performer also from Region 9, is versed in 3 Indigenous languages, inclusive of Makushi and Wapishana. Thompson described her performance.

“My song was about the Canaima, and in the other Makushi Song we introduce and showcase all our natural products made from mookru, cassava bread, farine, matopee, arrow, fishing, those”

Thompson explained that the Canaima is said to be a bad and evil spirit that kills people. It is held to be true in Indigenous villages and is used to scare children into behaving

The dances and songs of the Indigenous people are more than just entertainment, they tell a story, they propel the culture, they carry the legacy and story of their people.