Music of Guyana

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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.

Electronic Music[edit]

The Electronic Music scene in Guyana is quite still new. However there are a bunch of Guyanese underground producers. With Trap/Future Bass producer Esa Shaheed leading the pack. There's DJ's like Zaud, Fernando Yow aka (Dj Yow) who are quite known on the EDM scene.


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.

Calypso, Soca, and Chutney[edit]

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.


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.


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.

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.

Prominent musicians[edit]

Sammy Baksh[edit]

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[edit]

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. [1]

Esa Shaheed[edit]

Esa Shaheed is a producer, from Guyana. Genres he's associated with includes, Dubstep, Trap, Future Bass and Hip Hop. He's also a member of Guyanese Rock Band Rock United Musicians (RUM)

Shaheed is seen as the successor to Guyanese producer Mad Professor.

Music education[edit]

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.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Sugar Cake Girls - What sweetness!". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Vincent C. Bates, ed. (August 2015). "Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education" (PDF). ISSN 1545-4517. Retrieved 2015-12-13.


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