He is back in Guyana for a while and indicates that his reason for his visit is to focus primarily on the development of local music. To do this the talented overseas-based Guyanese singer is offering his services in the areas of voice training and all the other vocal modifications needed to produce the best in Guyanese musicians.
He is not a much talked-about artiste but Sammy Baksh has actually over the years, escalated to high forum in the music world and has held his own even among the world’s most rated and elite entertainers.
He has made a name for himself in countries such as Brazil, USA, Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Canada and many others, many not guessing that his rich vocal talent originated from Guyana.
So far he has produced six impacting CD’s some of which depict songs familiar to almost any Guyanese locals. He can be remembered for his ‘Who’s gonna Love You’, ‘Look out for Judy’, ‘The sun won’t shine on Me’, and many others which have quickly woven their melodies into the hearts of Guyanese and others.
Sammy has been truly inspired by celebrated singers like Guyana’s Eddy Grant, reggae legend Gregory Isaacs and a host of other singers. While he was still a youngster, he familiarised himself with songs his older sister kept in a book and he soon learnt to sing lustily, almost everyone.
His onstage antics and gesticulations at that age presented him as a very promising entertainer. As he grew up his vocal talent improved dramatically and many were mesmerised at his vocal range.
He soon took a fisherman’s job at sea and filled the night air with melodies at night as they sat on the trawler’s deck enjoying hot mugs of cocoa tea.
By this time, he was performing excellently both Indian and English ballads, a feat which is very beneficial to any musician. He was often encouraged when at home by his sister Dolly, who herself was a singer in a local band.
One day while sitting at home with his sister, he was rehearsing aided by an old tape recorder, when ‘Ram’ of the then Indian Merry Makers Orchestra, visited the home. Impressed with Sammy’s vocal abilities, the bandleader invited him to sing at a cultural fair and exhibition and soon asked him to join as a member.
Excited as ever, the young Sammy Baksh accepted the invitation and performed to a large crowd audience at the Guyana Youth Day hosted at the National Park. This was in the 1970s. There he performed alongside the legendary Dave Martin and Eddy Grant.
His entrance on stage was greeted with hushed silence since he was a new face, but that soon changed to thunderous applause and wild cheering when he excited the platform. Backstage he was congratulated by Eddy Grant who urged him to also try his hand at performing rock and pop music.
His ‘musical reservoir’ now open, he soon left the Indian Merry Makers Orchestra and joined the Vidyarthi Orchestra from Enmore, East Coast Demerara which was also another hot band during that era.
Shockingly, both orchestras were featured at a function he was performing and he was able to see that his last choice was better.
Sammy stayed on a few years, singing for free, braving the elements of weather, and even sleeping in the rain when there was no money to travel to his home in the Kitty, Georgetown.
Tired of the rigours of entertainment then, Sammy remained in the city and began performing with several local stars at the Camoa Nightclub on America Street. There he was asked to sing ‘Bridge over troubled Waters’ which was the ‘high tech’ song that promoters gave every newcomer to perform to determine their suitability for entertainment gigs.
During this time he also traversed the Sophia area and met the popular Lord Canary who allowed him to sing with Culture Corps Band to which he (Lord Canary) was affiliated. There he met the phenomenal Baba James who allowed him one night to perform the then popular hit selection “I love you to Want Me’.
Of course Sophia exploded and Sammy was crowned a new superstar.
After that he performed with over thirty string bands around the country and as expected, began to get media publicity. At that time in the late 70’s every promoter hoisting a show consisting of foreign artistes was also required to include local acts also. As such, Sammy was soon doing ‘big shows’ at the Globe Cinema, National Park and other areas.
When he was ready to record his first album some time later, the financial difficulties almost made him give up his dream. Those that before time promised much support disappeared or merely ignored his calls for assistance and the singer was left to fend alone.
Anyway, his struggles again led him in 1976 to and he recorded his first song on Eddy’s ‘Ice’ Label on High Street.
Shortly after he met a promoter who used his (Sammy Baksh) name to get popularity and obtain funds which he said he will use to elevate the singer. Sammy accompanied this fellow to uplift a cheque at a location in the city and yes the man bought two tickets for Trinidad. But then he left to return with some clothing and never showed again almost reducing Sammy to tears of disappointment.
“I am a conscious Guyanese who has suffered greatly at the hands of greedy musicians. However, there is a great need for unity, co-operation and respect if our local music to go anywhere”.
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