After singing and performing folk songs for 14 years ago, the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCGB) has finally produced and launched its first CD.
UVCGB president, Dr. Roxie Irish, a Born-Again Christian and former national netball star, told Caribbean Life, in an exclusive interview, that the CD, labeled, “Keep We Culture Alive,” is a “dream come true for us. Very momentous, indeed!
“We give God praise for His continued favor on this ministry,” she said after the launching ceremony, at the group’s annual fund-raising Tea Party, at the Golden Hall, at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal (Anglican) Church, on Hawthorne Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
“This is only the beginning,” added Irish. “We’re working very hard; we have materials in the making. The mission has always been to furnish medical supplies to our homeland, but, in the process, we’re on a quest to promote our culture.”
The CD – which comprises 11 folk songs, including “Keep We Culture Alive,” written by recently-joined member Ada Johnson, a former school teacher and high court registrar in St. Vincent and the Grenadines — was masterminded by Gordon “Don” Sutherland, a cultural figure, who joined the group three years ago, and fellow hometown boy Randolph “Randy” Liverpool, UVCGB director.
Except for “Moonlight,” all songs on CD were written by the trio — all former teachers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They can be considered cultural icons in their own right. Sutherland was co-founder, lead guitarist and song writer for the Georgetown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines-based Affetuosos Band of yesteryears. One of the popular songs Sutherland wrote for Affetuosos was “Children of the Caribbean: We All Are One.”
“Moonlight” was recorded as a tribute to the late and legendary composer, Alban Henry, a former head teacher in Georgetown, Liverpool said.
The UVCG Folk Choir performed three of the songs on the CD at the launching ceremony: “SVG Diaspora,” written by Liverpool, “The Amazing Breadfruit,” written by Johnson, and “SVG Swaree,” written by Sutherland.
Other songs on the CD are: “Vincentian Local Dish,” “Dis is Crop Over,” “Hairouna, Hairouna,” and “Ole Time Fashion Never Die,” written by Sutherland; and “Where De Good Childhood Days Gone” and “Calling Lis,” written by Liverpool.
“The event was well-attended and supported by the public,” said Johnson of the Tea Party and CD Launch. “Feedback from attendees was predominantly positive, despite some operational hiccups.
“Feedback highlighted the energy, dramatizations, synchronization and dancing that were effectively demonstrated by the choir,” added the former superintendent in the Royal Bermuda Police Force. “The lyrics and the melodious music of the songs were also greatly applauded.
“The success accomplished by the UVCGB on their CD project was truly a team effort,” he continued. “Kudos to president, Dr. Roxie Irish, the entire membership of the UVCGB, engineer Ozzy Sutherland [Don Sutherland’s son], and all volunteers for their relentless hard work and significant contributions for a job well done.”
Liverpool said UVCGB is “determined and will continue to keep Vincie culture alive, through folk songs, drama and choral speech, and, at the same time, will pursue the charitable cause of using any funds that are raised by the group to provide medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Sutherland agreed, adding: “We have one common goal — to keep our culture alive for SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and to give the proceeds from the CD to the rural clinics in SVG.”