Guyanese Music and Cloth

Guyanese music and songs expresses our feelings, joys, sorrow, hardship and struggles. We have found great pleasure and appreciation to write, compose and showcase to the world the forms of music that shape Guyana to what it is today. This can be seen in the form of our six peoples in Guyana. The rhythm of Indian music and the beating of the “Tassaa and Baydam” drums are enjoyed by everyone, especially when played at weddings and other ceremonies religious or not.  Attached to that, it is fascinating to look at the women and female dancers dressed in jewels in various colors and ornaments. These are worn on their arms, nose, ears and ankles, around their necks, fingers and toes.

Amerindian music is also enjoyed by all Guyanese. Some of their earliest form of dance can be known as the Mari Mari which is sung by the Mighty Chief (an Amerindian calypsonian), which brought other Guyanese to recognize this form of music and dance. Other instruments that are used by the Amerindians are banjos and flutes which are made from trees in their environment.

Img: National Cultural Centre, Georgetown, Guyana

There is also music that has originated with the Africans through slavery which we call folk songs. For the slaves these songs were sung for the comforting of each other as they would gather through the evening and beat the drums and dance to the rhythm as well. Some of these folk songs are sung at Queh-Queh, such as Janey Gal, Missie Lass and Sancho.

There are also our National Songs that reflect the aspirations, hopes and dreams of our country. It helps to portray a feeling of patriotism, pride and unity.

Our clothing or mode of dress is influenced by climate, occupation and daily needs as well as, influenced by religious beliefs, culture and tastes. In our society we have a code of dress for various occasions. That is, for uniforms for school and work, recreation, sports, drama and worships. As governmental offices it is required that persons be dressed properly in order to enter the building.

Most of the people in Guyana adopt the western mode of dress whilst others still maintain their traditional mode of dress. The Hindu woman wears a sari and a shalwar and covers their heads with a garment called an orhni. Whilst the men wear garments called the dhoti and kurta. The Muslims on the other hand, the women either wear shalwar and keemar; the men wear the jorah and tope. For the afro-Guyanese women wear turbans and wraps whilst the men wear turbans and dashikis. Our Amerindian brothers and sisters would wear their traditional clothes but on occasions. Traditionally their mode of dress for the men wear loin cloth and the women wear aprons that is either made of cotton, tibisiri fiber or beads. Their colorful headdress along with leg bands, necklaces, ear and nose decorations compliment their mode of dress.