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Sunday, October 23, 2016

BAHAMIAN MUSIC IS “BLOWING IN THE WIND”


The Invaders playing in the old Lisbon Club on Bay Street 1965.
Left to right: the late Lorin Cartwright, 
Peter Catalano and my husband Erskine Knowles

I heard a recording yesterday on the Charles Carter radio show of the late great Brook Benton’s song “The Ties that Bind” by Bahamian legendary entertainer Marvin Henfield. Henfield’s rendering brimmed with the sensual Bahamian beat that I fell in love with when I first came to The Bahamas. I’d never heard that type of music before I arrived in Nassau. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!

Where is all that lovely Bahamian music now? Gone like Peter, Paul and Mary’s song “Where have all the flowers gone?” It should never have been allowed to practically disappear. It’s unique. Tourists loved it. Bahamians loved it. Expats loved it. Now we are subjected all the time to gangster rap, watered down reggae, hiphop…. I couldn’t even find a Bahamian CD downtown the other day as a present to send abroad.

Thankfully, radio hosts like Sir Charles Carter and Steve McKinney keep Bahamian music alive to some extent on their shows. But it should be everywhere for everyone to enjoy. Cuba and Mexico have retained their national musical identity for example (and of course countries like Scotland where I come from – oh how my heart stirs to the bagpipes!). Why couldn’t we have done the same here?

Once we met some tourists when we were out for a walk. They wanted to know where they could listen to some Bahamian music. We really had to stop and think. We suggested Junkanoo Beach and probably Atlantis.

We should have an income producing Bahamian Cultural Museum downtown, featuring our traditional Bahamian musicians (past and present), like Liverpool has for The Beatles. When we visited that Merseyside tourist attraction some years ago, we were able to go from section to section with various Beatles’ music playing and memorabilia for all to see. Live performances by traditional Bahamian musicians could take place in the Bahamian Cultural Museum from time to time.

The Bahamian Cultural Museum could also feature Bahamian artists, authors, and everything cultural that is Bahamian, with workshops. I keep suggesting this, but no one ever carries my suggestion any further. It all just keeps like the Bob Dylan song “blowing in the wind”!



4 comments:

  1. You are so right, Fay. Bahamian music should never be allowed to die out. It is an important part of our culture. Serious minds in this regard who can make a difference should emerge to the fore-front. If and when that's going to happen, only time will tell.

    Nice photo, by the way. :)

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    1. Thanks, Tanya. So many people feel the same way as you do, but unfortunately no one that has the power to do something about it does! I have a better copy of the photo, but couldn't locate it right now.

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  2. agrred with each you say dear

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