Drumming Festival aims to create opportunities for drummers to play on int’l stage

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By Isanella Patoir

Isanella@newsroom.gy

Since 2010, the Majek Fingers Drumming Festival has been a catalyst for local drummers from different cultural backgrounds. Through rhythm, dance, drumming and singing, this free festival aims to showcase Guyana’s rich cultural diversity.

But beyond that, the creator, Orlando Primo, hopes the festival can provide an opportunity for local drummers to tour internationally and showcase their talent and art.

Primo, during an interview with the News Room, said the festival will be held on Friday at ACDA, Thomas Lands from 17:00hrs under the theme ‘Feel the Rhythm of the Drums.’

“The idea behind Feel the Rhythm of the Drums is basically bringing together artists, drumming groups [and] dancing groups from around Guyana, coming together to celebrate unity through the art of their creativity,” Primo said.

Orlando Primo (centre) and his brother Jumo Primo (right) (Photo: Orlando Primo/Facebook)

But why drumming?

Primo comes from a long lineage of musicians and is the brother of local singer Jumo Primo.

He related that he started drumming as a young boy but never liked it.

It was not until he understood the importance of drumming that he developed a love for it and has been working for years to improve and preserve the art form.

“From that, I launched Majek Fingers Drumming School and from then we focused on the art of drumming and promoting, not just in Guyana but internationally,” Primo told the News Room.

Since the launch of the schools in Guyana and New Orleans in the United States about 12 years ago, hundreds of children and adults were taught how to drum.

Orlando Primo and a batch of his students (Photo: Orlando Primo/Facebook)

According to Primo, persons from all walks of life have been receptive the culture and art.

“It is really beautiful,” Primo stated.

Having experienced exposure drumming on the international stage, Primo wants the same for his fellow Guyanese. He said the festival can serve as a pathway for local drummers to also earn money and positively promote the culture.

“The end goal for me of the drumming festival is to give these artists an opportunity to tour with the festival because I believe it has the magnitude and energy to go global and that is where we want to go.

“I am trying to give them an opportunity to see the world through the art of drumming and dancing,” Primo said.

Orlando Primo drumming (Photo: Orlando Primo/Facebook)

The Drumming Festival was put on pause for the past three years due to the pandemic and is back this year promising great energy and atmosphere.

“Once you are a drummer or dancing group and we know about you, we are going to put you in this show because it is all about showcasing this art in Guyana.

“There are no prizes to be won, it is just to showcase this beautiful art, it is a free event, you don’t have to get tickets, just come and witness greatness,” Primo said.

The event will showcase a fusion of African and tassa drumming.

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