Occur Goes Global - The Music of Guyana

Now here's a country with a rainbow of peoples and music that you might not have ever considered to be a melting pot. Guyana lies physically on the Caribbean and within South America, but its arts and entertainment have roots in the Indian subcontinent, Europe, Africa and other locales. Indulge in the melange that is the Guyanese music scene with these five artists:

Poonam Singh

Law student. Beauty queen. De facto national ambassador. Poonam Singh represents Guyana on multiple levels. Her pop song about her beloved country hits on its multiculturalism, greenery and unique architecture over a breezy beat. Additionally, Singh is dedicated to preventing suicides in Georgetown and beyond. A sweet alto and an even sweeter heart.



Gavin Mendonca

The language of punk rock and rebellion is universal. Mendonca puts a creole spin on the riotous genre, finding a niche between Rise Against, Bob Marley and Rush. He’s been honored by various Guyanese organizations for his political commentaries such as “The Great Rebellion.” Never afraid to tackle tough subjects such as slavery and poverty, Mendonca might one day join the pantheon of other punk greats like Joe Strummer and Tom Morello.



TJ Nile

Guyana is among the Caribbean-kissed nations that adore soca, a calypso offshoot full of vigor and frenzied rhythms. Its purpose is to bring the party, and Nile does just that in the above tune. He taps into elation and catharsis of Guyana’s emancipation and independence days, and shows promise as a viceroy of delight.



Donna Makeda

Referring to herself as a “singjay,” this Canadian emigrant brought the effusive riddims of reggae from Guyana to the North American country in the early 1990s. Since then, she’s been internationally recognized for her positivity, mellow vibes and all-around star power. Dig her feminist anthems such as “Jah Great Woman.”



Onikha Joseph

This rising star of soca blends cautionary tales with fervent beats and call-and-response melodies. A teacher by day, Joseph takes her educational experience and translates it into Aesop fables for the dance floor. Among her notable tracks has been “Keep Death Off the Road,” a PSA for safe driving among the Guyanese metro areas.





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