The Yoruba Band: A true pioneer of the original Guyanese sound
It is true that music has the power to inspire, to entice, to move you to question the impossible, and perhaps, even dare to surpass hurdles which prevent the manifestation of your dreams.
But the collection of music by Guyanese Band, the Yoruba Singers, which has lived on for over 40 years, fills us with more than this.
The Yoruba Singers, which is currently led by its only surviving member since formation, Eze Rockcliffe, has contributed a body of work that reminds us with every listen about who we are as Guyanese, reinforces a sense of identity and belonging in our younger generation society, and effortlessly transports us to our rich folklore era. The band does these things, all the while staying true to an original Guyanese sound.
There can be no argument that the Yoruba Singers has made invaluable contributions to Guyana’s music history.
According to Rockcliffe, the goal of the Band’s music is to spread its Guyanese sound to the worldwide audience so that Guyana could get the recognition it deserves.
The powerhouse of a singer said, “Over the years, we have had lots and lots of talented artistes and the world is yet to hear from Guyana. But the goal was not achieved because there was never a leveled playing field that accommodated the artistry. There was never emphasis on exploring the possibilities of selling the art form effectively.”
Furthermore, while Rockcliffe’s Band would have produced a number of songs over the years, there are a few that he is very much attached to.
He shared, “I did a piece called, “Abuasaue” which means Tell it like it is. I’m connected to that piece because it’s one of my earlier songs which I wrote when I was about 20 years old and recorded some 30 years later. The next song that I am connected to is called “Bleeding with hate”. That too, tells a great story which is on my second album called “Fighting for Survival.” Of course, my popular pieces like “Creketeh” are more connected to me from a different standpoint; from a more indigenous, cultural standpoint.”
Rockcliffe continued, “You know, most of the Africans came from Ghana and songs like that, passed on from generation to generation. But getting back to “Abuasaue”, when I released that song, young children would meet me in the streets and say ‘Mr. I love that song’… I believe that there is some spiritual connection with the song’s lyrics.”
The entertaining performer added, “Part of that song says, “Knowing your history is priority to guide us and give us the strength, we made our mark in the universe, yes we contribute to world events…” And you know there are some who think that we never did anything in terms of recorded history but in the song I say, “…We contribute to world events…” then I cite the pyramids of Egypt, the discovery of the alphabet, blood transfusion etc and those are significant contributions our race made to the world.”
Furthermore, in spite of the challenges that Guyana’s music industry may face, Rockcliffe remains optimistic about the longevity of folklore music in Guyana.
Elaborating on this point, Rockcliffe said that it would be a matter for the administrators and musicians in this country and for the corporate world as well. He noted that Dave Martins and the Tradewinds have done a fantastic job in keeping folk traditions alive and applauds him heavily for their contributions. Another group which has done a great job in this area is the Chronicle Atlantic Symphony explained Rockcliffe.
“But I am a spiritual person and because of the God that I serve I know folklore music would not die,” the entertainer added.
Additionally, the Yoruba Band recently launched its first cover album. The CD titled , “Songs We Love To Dance,” consists of 14 songs. The songs were recorded at Kross Kolor Records. The enthralling album features vocals by Eze Rockcliffe, Keron Richards, Kenneth Rockcliffe and Joycelyn Rockcliffe with Xenophan Goliah on the Keyboard and Peter Callender working the Bass.
For more information on how you can obtain your copy , be sure to make contact with the Yoruba Singers on #2257714.