Gavin Men­donca rocked 2018 with tours and per­for­mances

Stabroek News - - THE SCENE -

Lo­cal folk singer and punk rocker Gavin Men­donca has had quite the year, as he con­tin­ues to make great strides as a mu­si­cian and cul­tural am­bas­sador for Guyana.

His year be­gan with a trip to the Do­mini­can Repub­lic in Jan­uary where he per­formed at an Eco/Camp­ing Fes­ti­val ‘Quelo­nios Fes­ti­val’ in Playa En Valle. In the month that fol­lowed, the singer helped with the or­ga­niz­ing of the an­nual Rupu­nuni Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val, which was held at Ma­nari Ranch and said to be a huge suc­cess. In April, he and his heavy metal band, Feed the Flames, were se­lected as fi­nal­ists for the sec­ond Wacken Metal Bat­tle Caribbean, which saw them take the stage in Trinidad at Skyy Rock Fes­ti­val for the sec­ond year in a row.

By May, Gavin was al­ready re­leas­ing a mu­sic video for his song “How To Build A Tree House”, which was done in a short­film style. The film which was shot at the Kai­eteur Falls in­cludes the use of Pata­mona Folk­lore and Lan­guage, as well as the beau­ti­ful story of the falls. The film made its premier in Ge­orge­town at the Timehri Film Fes­ti­val, and has since been screened in the United King­dom, New York and Florida. It was pro­duced by Der­rick ‘Ziggy’ Den­heart and the song pro­duced by Kross Kolor Records.

Then in July, the artiste de­cided to make a huge in­vest­ment in his ca­reer when he planned an im­promptu tour of Eng­land and the US. He spent July and Au­gust mov­ing through dif­fer­ent cities in Eng­land play­ing at bars, pubs, and Caribbean back­yard get to­geth­ers and also at the launch of the Univer­sity of Guyana’s UK alumni in Lon­don. The high­light of his trip was be­ing able to open and head­line the WOMAD Open Mic 2018. The World of Mu­sic, Art and Dance (WOMAD) is a 4-day fes­ti­val which hosts more than 70,000 peo­ple from var­i­ous coun­tries around the globe where they camp for 4 nights. For Gavin this was truly a life chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as he was ex­posed to new and dy­namic cul­tures from all over the world, while be­ing able to share his own cul­ture via folk mu­sic and cre­ole rock.

Af­ter spend­ing part of Au­gust in Eng­land, he went on tour to New York con­tin­u­ing into Septem­ber. His tour kicked off in Man­hat­tan where he per­formed at more than a dozen open mic nights build­ing a fan base and cre­at­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the next year. The pop­u­lar folk song “Ganga­mani” was es­pe­cially a hit as he got the crowd to sing along with him dur­ing ev­ery ren­di­tion of the song. Lo­cal rap­per and pho­tog­ra­pher A-Tay-Jay joined him on a few oc­ca­sions. While in New York Gavin also per­formed at the an­nual Guyana Folk Fes­ti­val, which was put to­gether by the Guyana Cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion in New York. He said it was a true hon­our to be able to present cre­ole rock to the di­as­pora in NY for the first time. The singer also made a week­end trip to Florida, where he per­formed at Full Sail Univer­sity in Or­lando. Here he did a twohour pre­sen­ta­tion of Guyanese folk mu­sic, cre­ole rock and the Im­por­tance of Cul­tural Pre­sen­ta­tion through the Arts. This was warmly re­ceived by al­most 100 of the univer­sity’s stu­dents and staff.

On his re­turn to Guyana in Septem­ber Gavin headed to Lethem for its Town Week. Then in Oc­to­ber, he and his band Feed the Flames put to­gether a mas­sive concert, which was highly re­garded as the big­gest rock event in re­cent his­tory, fea­tur­ing all of the lo­cal rock bands and two from French Guiana – Aeons of Dis­or­der and Car­nage. This led to him re­ceiv­ing a call from Di­rec­tor of Mu­sic An­drew Tyndall who in­vited him to be part of the Guyanese con­tin­gent that was head­ing to Brazil as part of a cul­tural ex­change pro­gramme in Novem­ber. The group spent two weeks in Boa Vista and Brasilia, per­form­ing at mul­ti­ple schools and cul­tural cen­tres, the Univer­sity of Brasilia, and the 13th edi­tion of the an­nual In­ter­na­tional Fair of the Em­bassies. Guyana’s Am­bas­sador in Brasilia was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by Gavin’s twist on lo­cal folk songs, in his style of cre­ole rock.

Most re­cently, the self-taught mu­si­cian re­turned from a trip to Suri­name where he per­formed with friends there at a hard­core punk concert. Ac­cord­ing to tal­ented artiste this was ini­tially part of his plan – to cre­ate the first ever in­ter-Caribbean rock band, fea­tur­ing him­self (from Guyana), Jose Mossel and Shavero Fer­rier (Suri­name) and Bryan Khan (Trinidad). The punk rock band has given it­self the name Su­gar-Caned, a play on the three coun­tries’ sim­i­lar pro­duc­tion his­tory and is sched­uled to make its on­stage de­but at the Skyy Rock Fes­ti­val in Trinidad next April. Be­fore that, Gavin has been in­vited again to per­form at the Quelo­nios Fes­ti­val in the Do­mini­can Repub­lic at the end of Jan­uary and the Rupu­nuni Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary 15 -17. But that is only the begin­ning. 2019 is ex­pected to be a big­ger year for Gavin, who has al­ready be­gan putting plans in place for a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional tour for the lat­ter half of the year.

Gavin is ex­tremely grate­ful for the sup­port he has re­ceived, both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally and is now more than ever fo­cused on mak­ing his dreams a big­ger re­al­ity.

As Christ­mas ap­proaches he took the op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend to all of Guyana a blessed hol­i­day sea­son filled with pure­ness and pos­i­tiv­ity. And, as a gift, Gavin will be re­leas­ing “How To Build A Tree House” on­line for the first time on Christ­mas Eve at 8 pm to com­mem­o­rate the time he was born 27 years ago.

For more on the singer and to sub­scribe to his newsletters per­sons can visit his web­site at www.cre­ole­rock.com and also keep abreast on his Face­book page for up­dates and to see the premier of his short film.

Gavin on stage at the Feed The Flames concert

Gavin poses with his gui­tar in front of the Kai­eteur Falls.

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