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“Not only a musician of a generation, he is a cultural hero”- Vibert Cambridge

The Guyanese entertainment industry is in mourning for the late musician, Aubrey Cummings.
Reports are that the 63-year-old, who died Wednesday night, was found slumped over the steering
wheel of his car, which was parked at the Standard Car Park at Haggatt Hall, Barbados.
His demise is believed to be as a result of a heart attack.
Cummings was a guitarist, vocalist, and a bandleader.
Reports are that the car that Cummings was driving suddenly stopped outside a shop at
approximately 19:00hrs.
According to one woman’s report, she closed her shop for the day and was about to leave when she
noticed the driver slumped forward in the car. She summoned the police.
Based in Barbados for about 20 years, Cummings is remembered for his smooth renditions of songs
such as ‘A flower named June’ and ‘Annalee.’
A relative said the entertainer would be laid to rest in Barbados.
On January 18, 2004, Vibert C. Cambridge Ph.D, writing in the Stabroek News, described Aubrey
Cummings as ‘A Musician of a Generation’ whose experience provided valuable insights into the
dynamics of Guyanese society during the late colonial period and the early post-independence era.
According to Cambridge’s article, Cummings’ experiences also provide a useful lens to look at the
place of music in Guyanese society.
Born in 1947, Cummings grew up in the Alberttown/Queenstown community and attended
Queenstown Roman Catholic Primary School.
There, Cummings developed a reputation as an artist. He loved to draw. He would draw on anything
he could find including the small squares of brown paper that were used to package the rice and
sugar and on the back of old calendars.
These drawings would be displayed on the school’s walls. However, it was music and not art that
made Cummings a household name in Guyana during the 1960s and 1970s, it was his music.
His decision to develop a career in pop music was influenced by Michael Bacchus and the
Heartbreakers.
In Cambridge’s article, Cummings navigated alleyways and “bored” through palings from Crown
Street to visit the group’s rehearsals at a house in Anira Street, Queenstown. Among the members
of Bacchus’s band were Johnny Braff and Compton Edwards.
The magic of popular music and show business excited him, so he took up the guitar and became a
self-taught guitarist.
Cummings first joined the ‘Bumble and the Saints’ band in 1965 during the string band era when
Guyanese string bands and musicians attracted attention in the Caribbean. In 1965, Bumble and the
Saints toured Barbados with Johnny Braff with moderate success.
On his return from that island; Cummings joined Joe Wong and the Dominators as a guitarist.
In 1972, Cummings responded to an opportunity provided by Ossie Redman to travel to Brazil with
the Telstars International Band. As the bandleader he toured Manaus during 1972 and 1973. The
band included Gerald Couchman (drums), Cummings on guitar, Monty Douglas (composer and
arranger), Derry Etkins (organ), Billy Stephenson (Congos), Ray Seales (sax and vocals), Terry
Jervis (trumpet), Colin “Bumble” Wharton (bass guitar), and Phil “Bumpy” Dino as the vocalist.
In 1973, Telstars International toured Barbados and recorded the important album ‘Orbiting’, which
included songs such as “So lucky” and “World of Tomorrow.”
In July 1975, Cummings went on an adventure. He hitchhiked to Brazil. The adventure started with a
plane flight from Ogle Airstrip to Lethem. He had recalled the Kabwowra flies that welcomed the
hitchhiking party—one female and four males—to Lethem. The party crossed the Takutu River into
Bom Fin and hitched hiked to Manaus and then to Rio de Janeiro, a distance of almost 3,000 miles.
From Rio, Cummings went on to Brasilia. He spent a few months there playing with Brazilian bands
and as a solo artist at various clubs. He returned to Guyana in December 1975 ready for another
engagement with popular music in Guyana.
In Barbados, Cummings established an active musical career as guitarist and vocalist. There he
recorded the hit “A Flower named June,” followed by “Think I’m in Love,” “Analie,” and the “Children
of Sanchez.”
For Carifesta 1981, he composed the song “West Indian People”, which has been covered by choral
groups in the West Indies and Germany.
In 1984 and again in 1985, Cummings won the Best Male Vocalist Award in Barbados. During the
same period, he consistently won prizes at the Caribbean Song Festivals organized by the
Caribbean Broadcasting Union.
As Professor Cambridge aptly described the outstanding son of the soil, “Aubrey Cummings is not
only a musician of a generation, he is a cultural hero.”

Aubrey Cummings (1947 – 14 April 2010) was a renowned Guyanese musician and singer, who in
1978 migrated to Barbados. He was also an artist.[1][2]

Biography[edit]
Aubrey Augustus Cummings[3] was born in 1947[1] and grew up in the Alberttown/Queenstown
neighborhoods of Georgetown. He attended Queenstown Roman Catholic Primary School during the
headmastership of Francis Percival Loncke.
He joined the group Bumble and the Saints in 1965. He went on to be lead singer for the
Rhythmnaires (?) and the Dominators, also playing rhythm guitar and doing arrangements.[4]He left
the Dominators in 1973 and helped form another band called the Telstars,[4] having a popular hit with
"So Lucky in My Life".[5] The Telstars toured Brazil, later visiting Barbados and recording their
album Orbiting, and in 1975 Cummings returned for six months to Brazil, where he was well received
in Rio and Brasilia.[4]
In 1978 Cummings migrated to Barbados, and built an active career as a guitarist and vocalist[1] —
musicians he played with include John Roett, Charlie King, Nicholas Branker, and Johnny Glasgow
(Linus Yaw) — and subsequently established himself as a painter.[4]
His CD Moon Over Me was issued in 2005.[6]
He was found dead in his car at Haggatt Hall, Saint Michael, Barbados, on the evening of 14 April
2010.[7][8][9][10]

Aubrey Cummings - Musician and Vocalist


Submitted by Staff Reporter on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 19:05

Birth Aubrey Cummings was born in the year 1947 and grew up in the Alberttown / Queenstown neighbourhoods of
Georgetown, Guyana Discovered talent His decision to develop a career in pop music was influenced by Michael Bacchus and
the Heartbreakers. The magic of popular music and show business excited him, and he took up the guitar. He is a self-taught
guitarist.
The first band Cummings joined was Bumble and the Saints in 1965--the early days of the string band era. He attended
Queenstown Roman Catholic Primary School where he developed a reputation as an artist. However, it was not his art that
would make Cummings a household name in Guyana during the 1960s and 1970s, it was his music. The birth of his music
career Cummings' impact on music in the 1960s Bumble and the Saints was one of the bands that consolidated the shift from
the big band sounds of Tom Charles and the Syncopaters, Nello and the Luckies, and Al Seales to the new styles and sounds
of string bands.
Guyanese string bands and musicians attracted attention in the Caribbean, and in 1965, Bumble and the Saints toured
Barbados with Johnny Braff with moderate success. On his return from Barbados, Cummings joined Joe Wong and the
Dominators. Cummings' next stop was with the Music Machine.
The members of the band included Aubrey Cummings, Colin Aaron, George Reid, and King Souflantis. It had strings and
brass. The Guyanese "big band" had resurfaced. Music Machine was also the first band since Combo 7 that paid its members
monthly salaries. Members of the Music Machine earned themselves "big reputations."
In Barbados, Cummings would establish an active musical career as guitarist and vocalist. In 1984 and again in 1985,
Cummings won the Best Male Vocalist Award in Barbados. During the same period, he consistently won prizes at the
Caribbean Song Festivals organized by the Caribbean Broadcasting Union. His guitar work also attracted critical acclaim,
and he was a regular contributor to the acoustic guitar festivals organized by Barbados' National Cultural Foundation.
According to Aubrey Cummings, he said that popular music contributed to the healing of Guyana during the 1960s and
1970s and can do so again. His musical career is a reminder of the pervasiveness of music in Guyanese social life.
Throughout his musical career, the influence of race, class, and colour in Guyana during the 20th century can be found in his
music. His experiences demonstrated that Guyanese musicians worked hard. This attribute paid off as many of the
musicians of Cummings's era who have migrated established satisfying careers overseas. Overall, it can be said by many that
Aubrey Cummings is not only a musician of a generation, he is a cultural hero.
He was found dead in his car at Haggatt Hall, Saint Michael, Barbados in the evening on April 14, 2010