This chapter explains this book's contribution to the study of the interactions between the national governance practices and musical communities in the Caribbean. Specifically, it examines these interactions in Guyana during the three political eras of its transition from being a British colony to an independent nation state. The term musical communities here refers to discrete musical traditions, instruments, and repertoire found in Guyana's urban, rural, and hinterland regions and reflects the nation's multi-ethnic heritage. To contextualize the phases of twentieth-century governance practices in Guyana, the book outlines some key aspects of the state's political, economic, social, and cultural life. These include the peopling of Guyana; governance of the society, specifically the urban-based ruling elite and the plantocracy; residential patterns and cultural life; and patterns of resistance to the colonial order.
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