Kenwyn Norton, popularly known as “Ken.Will.Win” is a Guyanese by birth but now resides in Canada where he has built his brand and music career. He sees himself as a Canadian dancehall/hip hop artist.He was born and raised in Guyana but moved to Canada eight years ago. While working on his craft, he is also attending university perusing his Bachelor’s degree in Arts.While he has always been musically inclined, it was after moving to Canada that he saw the opportunity in him to cultivate his craft and have fun with his talent which he is happy to share with the rest of the world.Growing up in the Caribbean influenced his musically style significantly, hence his preference for dancehall and hip hop.“I joke with people I meet when they ask me what type of music I do, I tell them “if the music don’t make you wanna groove, I don’t wanna do it.” I believe that Canadian dancehall is on the rise, moreover dancehall music is on the rise once more in the world and I plan to help keep that vibe alive”.He has infused his dancehall music with hip hop, similarly to the way Drake has been able to incorporate dancehall into hip hop music; it is like doing the reverse.He has been inspired by artistes such as Bob Marley, Tupac, Beenie Man, Mase, Marvin Gaye, Beres Hammond and Garnet Silk, just to name a few.His music can be considered as groovy and edgy, with tunes such as “Love You Down” and “Get To Know You”.However, he tries to promote positivity in his music. One of his such songs is “Girl They Can’t Stop”, which supports and promotes women’s empowerment. Another song, he made reference to was “African Woman”, which entertains but at the same time reminding women about their beauty, melanin and being comfortable in their own skin.“It’s hard to say who I sound like as other artistes as well as myself could not come up with another artist who my voice sounds like. While I have had my own challenges since I’ve started recording music, I know that I am on a mission so I keep pushing through”.However, he hopes to see more Guyanese artistes on the international scene. He believes Guyana has been blessed with talent but there not have enough windows of opportunity for people with similar ambitions to pursue their dreams.As such, he is hopeful to be in a position where he can share his road map with Guyanese youths who are bursting with talent but feel stuck as they see no sense in going after their dream.“To them I say dream on, and don’t give up on yourself or your dreams. To those that are in a position to contribute to the music scene, I encourage them to invest in our youth”.
Derek Walcott, the great St Lucian and West Indian poet, died a week ago on March 17 and the media of the English-speaking world carried touching tributes to a unique poet and playwright. In Guyana, not much, as was expected, was said although Walcott was known and remembered by many Guyanese.Walcott was born in 1930 at Castries, St Lucia and raised there. His mother was a headmistress at the local school and his father was, among other things, an amateur water-colourist, who died at the age of 31 before Walcott was born. He was raised by his loving mother, who made every sacrifice to ensure that her son received a good education. She recognised Walcott’s talent as a poet and at 14, he published his first poem and financed his self-published book of 25 poems, which he published four years later. During these early years of his poetic life, he painted and became a good amateur painter.He got a scholarship to the newly-established University College of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica where he read English, French and Latin. He graduated in 1953 and settled in Trinidad for several years, teaching and being involved in cultural work. His great talent as a poet and writer became widely recognised, and he received an award to study in the USA. He joined the academic staff of Boston University and taught there for 20 years until he retired in 2007. During his stay at Boston University, he published regularly and his great work “Omeros” was published in 1990.Walcott’s output of poetry, plays and essays was among the greatest produced by any West Indian writer and he won many prestigious awards and prizes during his long career.His greatest work “Omeros” for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature captures the essence of the Caribbean and was a re-setting of Homer in St Lucia. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Walcott also won the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award (1981); the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry (1988); the WH Smith Literary Award for Omeros (1990); the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement (2004); the TS Eliot Prize (2011) for his book of poetry “White Egrets”; and the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry Recognition Award in 2015, among several others.He was the essential West Indian and though he spent so many years in North America and Europe, he always came back to St Lucia, which was home to him. He always claimed his identity was West Indian and in his personality, he expressed his West Indianness. Though he was aware of the many currents and cross-currents of race, religion and culture in the Caribbean, he rose above them and in one way or another, utilised them in his art.As was stated by the Secretary General of Caricom, to the Caribbean Community, Walcott was a true cultural icon, a gift from Saint Lucia to the Region and the world. He embraced the entire Caribbean as his own. His lyrical poetry and penetrative plays resounded with the rhythm and spirit of the Caribbean civilisation. And certainly, he epitomises the possibilities and brilliance of a true Caribbean man.We salute this distinguished son of our Region, whose presence in our midst will be greatly missed.