Oct 11, 2015 News
By Kiana Wilburg
Most men by age 30 already have an idea about what they want to be remembered for. Early on, some even do all that it takes to set the stage for their legacy to be clearly defined and carried on by their children.
For Manoel “King Perai” Ferreira, his legacy will include memorable witty, colloquial lyrics on the current events of the day as he desires to be remembered for his contributions to a most prized musical art form—Calypso.
Ferreira was born on June 10, 1962 in the Pomeroon Village, in Region Two. In an exclusive interview, he informed Kaieteur News that as a young boy, he was very active in the church and enjoyed being surrounded by “soul-inspiring” gospel music.
He said, “I enjoyed gospel music thoroughly when I was a child because it was uplifting to the spirit. I grew up singing in the church choir and having music in my life at such a young age helped to give me a sense of direction and purpose. It was at that time that I fell in love with music and its power. But I left Pomeroon when I was 12 years old.”
Ferreira attended a city secondary school and after graduating he joined the army where he served for three years as a Lance Corporal. After leaving the military in 1977, he began working in the interior as a gold and diamond diver.
“But I met with an unfortunate incident in 1985. I was doing my work, you know, the regular diving for gold and diamond in the Mazaruni area and I somehow got covered down by large piles of mud. By the grace of God I survived the incident and the doctor told me that because of my injuries at the time I couldn’t continue doing that sort of job.”
The artiste then pursued a career in music in his early 20’s. Ferreira joined Pete’s Caribbean Fusion Band where he worked for two years honing his vocal talent. After that band broke up, he signed up with another band, the Sheriff’s Deputy. There, he stayed for about three and a half years.
“After the owner of that band died, everyone just went their own way and so performing went on pause for about three months. But I enjoyed the bands because they helped me in so many ways. I sang every genre with those groups and my favourite was always calypso because it was the genre that gave you the platform to speak on anything and bring your flavour to it. But I joined another band, Dax New Generation and I was with them for 16 years,” the now 54- year-old stated.
Ferreira however credits his success thus far in the local world of calypso to his managers – Bonny Alves and Charmaine Blackman –Alves. He said that he was given the right direction by the duo who were eager to work with him given his unique talent and flare for calypso music.
Taking Calypso seriously
King Perai said that with the encouragement of his managers, he participated in the National Health Song Competition for the first time in 2010 and copped third place.
In 2011, he got third place again but moved up to second place when he competed in 2012. Alongside that contest, he also competed in the Mashramani Calypso Monarch Competitions. He didn’t win those but his time to shine came earlier this year when he competed against some of the very best in the genre locally.
“I competed in 2015 with a lot of confidence but still I had some nervousness because I had been competing for years in the competition and I have not been placing and sometimes that can daunt your spirit. But that feeling subsided because each year I learned something new and for the 2015 competition I dared to do it different and be myself and utilize all that I learned. Bonny Alves wrote the winning song for me which he titled “King Perai” and it captured exactly how I feel about the way my Indigenous brothers and sisters were treated under the past regime,” said the Calypsonian.
He continued, “And I was happy with what he produced for me because lyrically it was perfection and I am grateful for it. They are exceptional managers and I am so thankful to have them in my corner. With their guidance I was able to earn the title of 2015 Mashramani Calypso Monarch and even a much greater title.”
Wining the Champion of Champions
King Perai after earning that title successfully entered another competition, which to him, was more nerve wrecking to think of. Local aficionados of Calypso music pooled their resources and teamed up with other members of the business community and hosted a “Champion of Champions” Calypso Competition at the National Cultural Centre. On that platform, all the former Calypso Monarchs converged to slay their competitor with their best calypso pieces to see who would remain the last man standing.
With a clever piece on the territorial controversy between Venezuela and Guyana, which was written by Bonny Alves, King Perai walked away with the title, monetary prizes and a brand new car.
“To compete with the best in the country on such a level was inspiring for me and I was grateful for the opportunity and again, every chance to perform and to see others in action is a learning experience. I was happy that I won but even more ecstatic to have created history because that is the first time such a competition has been held in Guyana. I do hope that it continues to get the support it needs because we do need the support from everyone.”
Is Calypso music dying?
King Perai, like his other calypso colleagues have expressed their disgust over the years about the unsatisfactory treatment meted out to calypsonians and the fact that the nonchalant attitude towards the art form may lead to its death.
The 2015 Calypso Monarch categorically stated that the responsibility now falls on those in charge to ensure that a number of things are corrected.
He cited these to be; more shows and opportunities for showcasing local calypso music, more air play of calypso music other than during the Mashramani season and an increase in the “chicken feed” prize money that is offered to participants of the Mashramani Calypso Competitions.
King Perai who already has a CD with his calypso music out, said that he will stop at nothing when it comes to breaking down barriers that hinder the growth of artistes in that arena.
He asserted, “This isn’t just music, it’s my life line we are talking about and I am going to take a stand and see that we are treated right.”
Jun 18, 2021Kaieteur News – Veteran Guyanese cyclist, Raymond ‘Steely’ Newton, a member of We Stand United Cycle Club is set to compete at New York’s Premiere Professional/Amateur and Community...
Jun 18, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
Jun 17, 2021
Kaieteur News – Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has lost power in a confidence motion in which the voting... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]