Remembering Bill Rogers – “Weed Song”

Remembering Bill Rogers

And The West Indian Woman Weed Song

By Dmitri Allicock

Bill Rogers

Bill Rogers

Bill Rogers {Augustus Hinds} was a famous early Guyanese Calypsonian responsible for putting Guyana on the recording map when he recorded for RCA Victor Bluebird Record Company in 1934. He was also responsible for the creation of Shanto music, a genre that is specifically Guyanese.

Young Bill Rogers and also calypsonian {Roger Hinds} speaking for the Caribbean Beat in Nov-Dec 2008 issue said, “My father was known as Bill Rogers, but his real name was Augustus Hinds. He was the person responsible for putting Guyana on the recording map when he recorded for RCA Victor Bluebird Record Company in 1934.  That was the top recording company in those days.

Besides being the first international recording artiste for Guyana, he was involved in many other things during his career: he was a magician, a comedian, and an impresario.

He was also responsible for the creation of Shanto music, a genre that is specifically Guyanese. It’s an improvisation of words and music with an Afro-West Indian beat, but the language and topics must be intrinsically Guyanese before it can be considered Shanto.

[Read more Remembering Bill Rogers and the West Indian Weed Song]

From Guyana. Old time Guyanese Shanto Song from the 1930’s sung by Bill Rogers.  It’s about a woman selling medicinal plants

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  • de castro  On December 16, 2013 at 9:25 am

    As a country boy I recognised some of the “bush” de woman ah sell….
    Physicnut bush saved my life….mixed with train grease and applied
    as a politice on my scalp that was infected as a10yo in GG ECD
    After a month in mercy hospital…. 25 peninsulin injections later.
    Before antibiotics were invented….
    The AMAZON jungle has a cure for most ailments today that is why
    we must not destroy it….aspirin was originally a bush remedy
    today it is patented and distributed worldwide in tablet form…
    Many others also…..commercialism ! All be it “unselfish commercialism”
    it saves lives and suffering !
    Thanks for the trip down “memory lane”…..

    Kamptan the last line of song certainly brought a smile to my ugly face…

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    So much medicines are awaiting discovery within the rainforest. Thanks Kamptan, the last part had me smiling too.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Found this interesting notes on- Woman Piaba , Man Piaba
    Apparently Woman-piaba (which is our vernacular name in Guyana), Hyptis pectinata (scientific name), is native to tropical America according to American sources, and native to West Africa according to African and Caribbean sources. Thus the origin of the plant is somewhat determined or claimed by the people who first ‘discovered’ its multiple medicinal and spiritual uses. Nevertheless, H pectinata is widely naturalized throughout the earth’s tropical zone. Woman-piaba belongs to the Lamiaceae family along with mint, lavender and basil.
    Within the Caribbean, Brazil, tropical America and West Africa, woman-piaba is used for various medicinal and healing purposes. The Patamona Indians in Kamana, Guyana, boil the leaves and use the water for treating ‘bush yaws‘ or boil the whole plant and drink the water for tubercolosis. According to well-known Maroon herbalist in Jamaica, Ivelyn Harris, the Maroon cure for hot flashes is a piaba tea, which is used by many women in the Rio Grande Valley when they are going through menopause. In Mampong, Ghana, the leaf is ground to a paste and mixed with kaolin in water and taken three times daily for vomiting in pregnancy. These are amongst numerous other medicinal and healing uses, only few of which are disclosed. …

    The plant itself is gendered in the context of its uses and nomenclature used by Guyanese people, as the stalks that have the flowers and buds are used for varying symptoms or difficulties associated with menstruation, menopause and pregnancy, hence the reason for calling it ‘woman-piaba.‘ However, the stalks that have the broad, serrated leaves are used in decoctions such as aphrodisiacs for men, hence the name, ‘man-piaba‘….so it was said

  • de castro  On December 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I suspect the man piaba ..may be the “patented” name “Viagra”
    Why today they have also “created” woman Viagra….but we may never know
    as the registration of a patent is shrouded in “secrecy”…
    my cousin a country girl from Nabaclais ECD who lived and worked
    in west Africa and now lives in Costa Rica has recorded many species
    of plants and their various medicinal purposes…most of her info
    on various tropical plants were obtained from the amerindians in Costa Rica.
    Kew gardens in UK have seeds of extinct species stored in their archives..
    which date back to Victorian times….with GM (genetically modified) seeds
    and plants being used worldwide today some question their untested
    usage….frankenstine foods …name used to describe them.
    Today hybreds can be GM to be immune to diseases and insect repellant.
    Science has no limits …but scientists seem more determined to prove
    the non-existance of a GOD ….than the existance of one… god is nature
    Good bad and ugly !
    I hope you are creating a data base with all this info which you can pass on to
    the next generations of children/grandchildren/some scientists ….
    Today the Indians in the Amazon are losing the ability to identify plants
    and their medicinal useage ….not passing onto their next generations…
    a tradegy …..instead they use the patented form of medicine for its convenience
    rather than searching the jungle for its original species…sad…

    Thanks for your info and stay connected

  • rick dalgetty  On December 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    As an active folklore performer I have also come across this work with other people and nations getting the credit for its creation .For example, Ernie Smith of Jamaica sings a very contracted version of the song and the record note credits Ernie for singing about a collection of herbs found in Jamaica. What is important here is to understand that our copyright practices in Guyana have been week or non-existent for a long time in Guyana, so creative and intellectual property can be easily exploited and even expropriated.

    • Dmitri Allicock  On December 26, 2013 at 1:07 am

      So true Rick. Merry Christmas and thank you

      • rick dalgetty  On January 3, 2014 at 8:50 pm

        week….should be weak

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