Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lady Guymine passes on!

Our most prominent female performers, known specifically for her "Granny Fit" number has died at 76.

Remembered as a very competitive person, cultural icon Monica Chopperfield better known as ‘Lady Guymine’ was saluted by those who knew her following her passing on Thursday at age 76.

Opposition party, the PNCR said that Chopperfield was one of the country’s outstanding citizens and cultural ambassadors.

Her fellow Calypsonian Geoffrey ‘Mighty Rebel’ Phillips recalled that he was in many contests with her and she was very competitive and always felt that her compositions were good enough to win. He recalled that they used to go around in caravans and she “used to be the granny of the team”. The calypsonian noted that Chopperfield, along with other members of the local calypso fraternity, was a member of the People’s Culture Corps, a band that was based in Sophia under the PNC government.

Philips recalled that at one point in their careers, they were at loggerheads but this was eventually resolved and they became friends again. He stated that he showed her the respect that she deserved and on a visit to the United States in 2007, he urged her to return home. “I said to her ‘grandmother, you getting old, it time for you to come home’,” he recounted.

Chopperfield returned to Guyana last February and Philips said that he had last spoken with her last week. He recalled that recently he hosted a programme on Channel Two to honour her and the Mighty Kaieteur but she could not attend owing to ill-health. He stated that though she was very competitive, they always had a “nice” relationship.

Meantime, the PNC stated that Guyana should be grateful to Lady Guymine for, she not only extracted what was best from the world of music but she also brought those unique qualities of a Guyanese to different parts of the world and won the respect of many who crossed her path. “Death has brought to a close an outstanding musical career that began in Guyana and took her further afield to the Caribbean and North America. In her career path, Lady Guymine rubbed shoulders with some of the leading musical figures of the day, especially the great West Indian Calypsonians, the Mighty Sparrow, Lord Nelson and others. Her talent was a match for theirs,” the PNC said.

The party noted that it was only in 1966, when she participated in the Mashramani celebrations as Lady Guybau, that she entered the world of calypso. After being noticed by the legendary calypsonian, the Mighty Sparrow, she was invited to tour Trinidad and remained in his tent for two years. “As a calypsonian she entertained Guyanese, West Indians and the Diaspora. ‘Granny Fit’ was one of the most loved renditions. She was ranked fourth in the 1985 World Calypso Competition,” the PNC recalled.

The party noted that Chopperfield was not confined to any single musical genre and in her early career she was known as a ballad singer and, along with one of her contemporaries, Annie Haynes, became one of the early purveyors of innovative jazz and swing vocals. The party extended heartfelt condolences to the members of her sorrowing family.

Chopperfield was born on July 31, 1932, in Berbice and has lived in Georgetown, Linden, and New York. Her performing career started in a show produced by Zelda Martindale at the roofless Olympic Cinema on Lombard Street. For that show she was billed as “Baby Monica”. She would go on to sing across Guyana, in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, and the United States.

--How come all this info is coming from the PNC, doesn't Guyana have a single archive on all our great citizens?

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