In Guyana, Feeling Stifled After Needling Government in Song

Dave Martins & Tradewinds – Civilization

In Guyana, Feeling Stifled After Needling Government in Song

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Dressed in a bright yellow hat, garish green shirt and oversize red tie, De Professor danced onstage, his waist-length dreadlocks following behind while he sang of government wrongdoing.

“With all de corruption dat taking place, we is de ones they blame,” the song, “God Nah Sleep,” went. “While dem a thief, thief, thief, we just sit down like if we lame,” he continued, complaining of public inaction in the face of widespread graft.

The performance was so well received that it delivered the 43-year-old singer, whose real name is Lester Charles, a victory early this year in the annual calypso competition in Guyana, a tiny country on the shoulder of South America.

But the song so angered the government minister for transport and hydraulics, Robeson Benn, that he stormed into the state radio station’s offices soon after and, according to numerous accounts, demanded that it be banned, along with an array of other competition-winning calypsos. 

A conflict has since surfaced between the government and calypsonians, who accuse it of repressing their often politically charged music by keeping it off the airwaves. The dispute has piggybacked on decades-old ethnic tensions between descendants of African slaves and those of indentured Indian servants, two groups that have battled for power for half a century in this Caribbean nation of 740,000 people. [Read more]

King Fighter –  People Will Talk
The Professor – God Don’t Sleep

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