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A Face in the Crowd
The essence of Guyana, celebrating creative personalities

Feb. 28, 2007
By Melissa Evans

An Ohio University telecommunications professor and chair of the African American Studies Department, Vibert Cambridge's passion for his native country of Guyana is evident in nearly all aspects of his life. 

Photo by Johnny HansonHis interest in the history of the South American country inspired one of his latest projects -- a multimedia history of Guyana, complete with a book, Web site and documentary.

"My point of entry is music," Cambridge says.  "This opens up new vistas and gives voices to historically voiceless and marginalized people."

For the past three years Cambridge has been writing a column for the Sunday Stabreok in Guyana. "Celebrating our Creative Personalities" focuses on Guyanese musical icons. 

And talking about musical icons, Cambridge says if he could meet anyone living or dead, he would like to talk with Augustus Hinds -- aka Bill "Bhagee" Rogers -- who was known for his shanto-style calypso music.  The Guyana native's 1930s smash, "The Weed Song," was an international sensation, making him the first West Indian to have a world hit.

"I would ask how he compiled the list of weeds used in the lyrics, what were his experiences in New York and what were his connections with the Harlem Renaissance," Cambridge says. 

If given a week off of work to do anything, Cambridge says he would like to travel to Guyana to interview musicians and collect old recordings.

In addition to compiling music from his native country, Cambridge collects Guyanese and Caribbean paintings and artifacts related to the African Diaspora in the Americas, a theme he is particularly interested in.

Melissa Evans is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.


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