Guyana on the world stage
Gavin and his bandmate, Chucky, have just finished recording a new album, Folk It Up Vol. 3, live, in the Iwokrama Rainforest
Gavin and his bandmate, Chucky, have just finished recording a new album, Folk It Up Vol. 3, live, in the Iwokrama Rainforest

GUYANA will this year be participating in the American Music Abroad Academy 2023.
The event is an annual affair that brings together 27 young artists from the Western Hemisphere with the aim of crossing socio-economic borders, promoting social inclusion, and bringing musical cultures together.

The Pepperpot Magazine spoke with one of the participants, Gavin Mendonca, who considered it a privilege to be part of such a significant event.

“For me, it is an honour, and I am very grateful to have been selected by the US Embassy to represent Guyana. I have been working tediously over the past few years to contribute to the preservation of our folk songs and culture through music.

Being a part of this programme will allow me to share our culture, as well as be exposed to cultures I’ve never interacted with as yet,” Gavin said, adding: “With the skills and knowledge I’ll learn, I hope to eventually be able to set up similar programmes in Guyana for our own creative and cultural industries’ practitioners.”

Another artiste, Cardel Hunte will also be participating in the academy.
They will both be involved in intensive musical workshops with the American Music Academy (AMA) alumni instructors, and receive mentorship on music business ventures, production, and much more.

Gavin and his bandmate, Chucky, have just finished recording a new album, Folk It Up Vol. 3, live, in the Iwokrama Rainforest, continuing their efforts to preserve our folk songs while highlighting rainforest conservation, and protecting the jaguar.

The Guyanese artiste believes that he has much to offer when he is through with his training. He also believes that Guyana stands to benefit immensely from the knowledge that he has acquired, due to his involvement in the Academy.

Gavin with former government minister Cathy Hughes at a past event

“[I’ll be able] to grow mentally and spiritually, having met and shared my culture with other amazing young people from around Latin America, while gaining a better understanding of their cultures, too, to enhance certain practical and creative skills, and knowledge of certain aspects in the business of music,” Gavin told Pepperpot Magazine.

Gavin, who has been involved in the music industry for several years, particularly in folk music, believes that folk music must be preserved, as well as Guyana’s traditions.

According to a document shared about the event, the history of music education in America runs parallel to the country’s own shifting landscape and culture through the centuries. Early interest in music education was primarily connected to church music.

This religious interest in music would lead to the creation of schools to create more skillful choirs, and more harmonious church services. Eventually, as higher education developed in the United States, universities and colleges also began to dedicate programmes in music education, independent of the country’s initial impulses towards religious music. Many of the first schools of higher learning and musical schools began in New England. By the 19th Century, however, these impulses towards higher musical education were flourishing throughout the country.


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