“A Very Merry Guyanese Christmas” is a rhythmic melody penned by legendary musician John “Slingshot” DrePaul and his wife, Ingrid, which has kept fans across the world dancing and singing to the infectious lyrics that capture the spirit of Christmas in Guyana.
“A very merry Guyanese Christmas, wishing you were here, we ‘gonna’ miss your company this festive time of the year, when we pass your house Christmas morning, we will give a shout, calling out to your family as we rub we belly and mouth.”
“We ‘gonna’ have a good time, sporting till we drop, women in the kitchen cooking creole food non-stop, we eating bake and pepperpot, they have to drag we from the pot…we will laugh and dance around, putting up curtain, eating rice and duck curry, dancing to slingshot music, and drinking rum on a Christmas morning.”
But despite the popularity of the song that has topped the charts because of its catchy rhymes, Slingshot said he has yet to receive any royalty from his music that continues to burn up the airways. The voice of the singer could be heard from pushcarts on the streets of Georgetown, that sells pirated CDs, he said and blames record stores in Guyana for selling bootlegged copies.
In an exclusive interview with Caribbean Life from his Florida home, the lyricists who wrote other musical compositions promoting his homeland, boasts of his gifted rhyming style that has made him a household name.
He said he expected financial support for his music, more so, at this time when he is recuperating from a slight stroke that incapacitated him and put him in the hospital, five days before his April birthday.
Slingshot released the Christmas hit more than 10 years ago, followed by “A Wonderful Christmas Day.”
When Christ was born, Christmas in Guyana, New Year’s Eve, Christmas is Family and others, totaling 10 CD’s, thanked Guyanese for their outpouring of support.
He sends his love to fans, but argues that piracy is of grave financial distress to artistes in Guyana, and is calling on the government to clamp down on the practice, a war he has been waging for many years.
The lively vocalist, whose infectious laughter and fun-filled dance moves seen in his body of work, said his recovery has surpassed expectations, as he undergoes physical therapy to regain mobility, and the use of his arm to once again play the guitar.
“If we don’t write these lyrics, no one would hear them,” he said, with his Trinidad-born wife besides him. She inspires his music and his recovery, said the Georgetown-born talent, who had big dreams to become a superstar.
“Fighting to end piracy is falling on deaf ears. The government should pass a resolution in Parliament to protect the rights of artistes. I had a stroke, and you would think I would get help at this time,” said the singer. He recalled the accident he had falling from a horse-drawn cart during a Mashramani celebration in Guyana, that had left him injured and penniless. He was not given any help during his recovery, and no royalty for his music.
“We love celebrating Mash and Christmas on the streets of Guyana with the people. What you see is what you get. We love making music. This song is very iconic,” said Ingrid. “It is a classic and it will be playing long after we are gone,” she added.
“We spend a lot of money to produce our music, and it is sad that John cannot get any rewards from his hard work,” said his wife, who along with Slingshot is hopeful for a return to the musical spotlight.
Slingshot, a soca and calypso singer who records on his Tropical Wave Production label acknowledged.
Producer Bonnie Alves, and Dr. Vibert Cambridge for their constructive support in their efforts to promote Guyanese artists. He also thanked Charles Davidson, whom he said, reached out during his hospital stay.
The dynamic musical duo that hopes to continue recording music, when Slingshot gains strength, extended season’s greetings to their fans, while evoking the joys music brings them.
To support Slingshot’s music and his recovery, log on to Go-Fund Me page, (https://www.gofundme.com/f/slingshots-road-to-recovery created by his daughter, Annabelle DrePaul, who calls her dad ‘a man with a heart of gold,’ always putting others first.
We wish you well, Slingshot!