The veteran drummer | Spreading positive vibes for Emancipation
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Drummer Curt Hunt (right) and his drumming partner said that they practice drumming to keep the African culture alive (Delano Williams photo)
Drummer Curt Hunt (right) and his drumming partner said that they practice drumming to keep the African culture alive (Delano Williams photo)

By Hugh Mclean

THIRTY-eight-year-old Curt Hunt aka “Rastaman”, who hails from East Coast Demerara, Buxton, is a veteran drummer who plays the drums all year long at the corner of Regent and Camp Streets. He likes to play the African Drum which has 12 different rhythms, popularly known as “the 12 tribes of Judah”.

“I [have been] playing the drum since I was five years old,” Hunt, dressed in African print in honour of the upcoming Emancipation festivities, told the Pepperpot Magazine. Hunt grew up in the Gospel Spiritual Church which exposed him to drumming. He developed an interest in drumming because he had to play the drums in his church every Saturday and Sunday from 09:00hrs to 18:00 hrs- a task that gave him more than enough practice for what he is doing now.

“My friends, who are also drummers and I try to keep the culture alive,” posited Hunt, adding, “The drumming is live; the live music does make the people dance with a spirit.” His palms are bruised due to the continuous habit of beating the drum for hours at a time every day, all year round. Hunt plays all day not only because he loves drumming but to also provide for his family.

As Emancipation anticipates, Hunt and his friends are preparing their palms, drums and other musical instruments for the Emancipation Festival. Hunt believes that Emancipation is when people must “Emancipate ourselves from mental slavery” as the popular Bob Marley song ‘Redemption Song’ preaches. “I am now playing my drums longer than usual because I want everyone to start to feel the vibes of the cultural holiday,” he explained.

According to the website publicholidays.gy, Guyana shares Emancipation Day with other Caribbean countries that were formerly British colonies. Originally, the name of this holiday was “Freedom Day,” but today, the name “Emancipation Day” is usually preferred.

Thus, while those of African descent were immediately and most directly impacted by the abolition of slavery, in reality, it touched everyone. The event sent the whole nation in a whole new direction and led to greater cultural diversity as well. This diversity has led Guyana to adopt as its national motto: “One People, One Nation, and One Destiny.”

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