President Dr Irfaan Ali on Tuesday announced that his Government would do more to support local Guyanese talent before Guyana’s entertainment industry ceases to exist.
He made this announcement during an interactive session he hosted at State House with local talent spanning Guyana, especially those who performed at the 56th Independence Anniversary Flag-Raising Ceremony.
At the candid affair, many local artistes voiced their many concerns over the cloudy future of Guyana’s entertainment industry.
As the world progresses, musicians seek exposure, for their craft to be heard by many listeners across the world. Many musicians have seen mainstream musical success by just having their songs played on the radio, which leaves up-and-coming and new artistes vying for radio stations to play their music.
Guyanese musician and producer Calvin Burnette understands the power of radio play as it pertains to exposure. He said on Wednesday, at the engagement, that Guyanese music should represent 90 per cent of the music played on radio stations across Guyana.
“A lot of times, getting us to that international level, or getting us on stages in Guyana, so that when foreigners come in they can hear us, what we need to do is engage the radio stations, and TV stations as well,” the producer said.
He added that artistes can only do so much when it comes to promoting their music, but, many times, promotions depend on external sources, like radio stations and television channels across the country.
“As artistes, we can produce and we can push; we can put out our stuff on social media, doing the groundwork for ourselves; but we can only do much. The radio and TV are what feeds the nation. If we can get 90 per cent of Guyanese music on the radio on repeat, then all the kids can know it,” he explained.
But some may think that Guyana has a long way to go as it pertains to solidifying or finding our identity, not only in the music industry, but in the arts industry as a whole. This was a sentiment shared by Guyanese gospel legend Samuel Medaz.
“A lot of boys never knew that they could make money off of their craft. I mean everybody in the arts industry. We’re very grateful for it. When we talk about what we want for Guyana, I think we had to put individual endeavours and individual careers on the back burner, because Guyana is still trying to find an identity in the arts,” he said.
He added, “We would borrow from all the different countries, but we (don’t) have our identity. That is a thing that has to start from the grassroots and come all the way up.”
He added that many times artistes start off and are heavily influenced by mainstream musicians and their televised success. They don’t see, or something, and don’t understand the hard work that is put into monetizing a music career.
His solution is to have professionals train the newcomers on how to monetize their music careers.
“If we could get professional training concerning the business of music, that would be a big plus for us,” he has said.
President Ali has said he would give Guyanese artistes and entertainers a chance to showcase their talent. He has charged Guyanese artistes and entertainers to work together and come up with a unique package for the ‘Guyana Night’ activity at the upcoming Cricket Carnival, which will in turn be used as a conduit to get local talents into the regional and international entertainment scene.
The Head of State has said his Government wants to give Guyanese entertainers a larger platform to display their talents. Hence, he noted that the upcoming Cricket Carnival – a packed two weeks of entertainment that will run alongside the 2022 CPL tournament here later this year – will have a dedicated event for local artistes, dubbed the ‘Guyana Night’.
“I want you guys to sit down and come up with a world-class programme. You’ll come up with the budget; you’ll come up with the best songs, the best beat. You’ll come up with the best anybody has ever seen at this Guyana Night… What I want is a stage that sells Guyana, promotes Guyana, promotes you, and advances your careers,” the President has stated.
For that event, the Government will set aside $10 million for the production, and will also look to incorporate the Private Sector. The revenue that is garnered from this event, the President has said, will go back to the performers and the industry.
He said, “We must have the type of talent that we could go on a Regional Night and we can dominate. We’re not going as a sideshow; we are not going as an add-on; we must go there to blow people’s minds with our performance. That is the type of attitude we will develop.”
According to the Head of State, once this is done right, the ‘Guyana Night’ performances will be packaged and sent to every network across the Caribbean to be broadcasted.