Makeda prepares to make history

By Tara Campbell

While the majority of artists portray themselves through a single medium, Donna Makeda expresses her message through a multiplicity of means. With a wide array of talents honed to precision, she’s prepared to wow audiences during her appearance at the Reggae Festival.

Exploring dance and singing through performances with her seven sisters, she took time to develop her voice before trusting it at a professional level.

“Singing was a hobby, a happy thing for me. I didn’t want to go onto stage, I was shy,” Makeda recalls. It was something she grew out of as her performances grew from a hobby into a resplendent forte. Live, her vibrant energy cascades into her message, which she defended through a candid rant.

“Love is number one. A better life is the most important thing. Peace, peace peace! I am not into war and governments, but mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters! Positive message at all times.”

And Makeda’s energy doesn’t stop with her outward personality. Always determined to pursue her strengths, Makeda founded a dance troupe before moving to Canada and has since founded both a record label and quarterly magazine, ReggaExclusive.

“Worldwide [news] with homegrown first,” she explains about the magazine. Reggae is not exploited the way it should be. This is what the people are saying and this is what the people want to hear.”

Currently, her focus is on the music and recording. Pleased with her most recent album’s dynamic, she speaks sanguinely of its components.

“It’s still a Makeda CD. There is a Guyanese folk song medley, but it’s hearing me differently–folk wise to a soca beat.”

Renowned not only by her listeners, she has received multiple awards for her talent. Named the Cultural Ambassador of Guyana in both 2000 and 2004, she exclaims about the awards: “It means they are proud of you as a Guyanese. Jah guided me, he has a plan for me.”

Carrying her culture with a strong ebullience and dynamic, her show at the Calgary Reggae Festival will be no different.

Looking forward to presenting her message to the Calgary people at a unification of reggae talent, she exclaims, “It’s a good thing. For some people it’s a job 9-5, but we are professional artists therefore this is our job. It’s another something for reggae artists to give a voice.”

And with such a devoted premise, her voice will undoubtedly be heard.

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