On the heels of a very successful medical mission to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCGB) two Saturdays ago conducted another very successful cultural show at the Meyer Levin (I.S. 285) Intermediate School in Brooklyn.
“The group worked assiduously over the course of about six months to present a show that would hold the attention of its audience, encourage its interaction, leave an indelible imprint on everyone’s minds and hopeful that they would have left with anticipation / expectations for an awesome 2020 cultural show,” UVCGB’s president and founder Dr. Roxie Irish-Morris told Caribbean Life after the group’s 15th Annual Cultural Show.
“If I were to interpret the audience’s reception — its applause, sing-along, hand-clapping, flag-waving and laughter, along with the many positive statements by various patrons — as a barometer to gauge the success of the show, I will emphatically state that it was, indeed, very successful,” she added. “Thank you to all who contributed / participated.”
Randy Liverpool, UVCGB’s choreographer and songwriter, agreed about the show’s success.
“The event was well-attended, with numerous returning patrons and many new-comers attending, all excited about the entertainment that the UVCGB had to offer, and to support the UVCGB’s primary cause of raising funds to donate medical supplies / devices to medical clinics and hospitals in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
“Overall, the feedback from attendees was predominantly positive and encouraging,” Liverpool added.
For just over three hours, the UVCGB had the audience in stitches, as patrons sang-along, danced, waved and applauded.
Highlights of the show included the launching of new UVCGB items.
“Gipsy Lady” a folk song, written by musician and songwriter Gordon “Don” Sutherland, was humorously portrayed by Judith “Buffy” Cuffy-Murray.
The folk song was based on a traditional gipsy lady, who is a fortune teller, voodoo queen, charmer and pirate of the Caribbean, who likes to do “her own ting” and is the life of the party.
UVCGB also performed “Ah Want De Ting Now,” a humorous folk love story, written by Liverpool, based on a couple’s 10-year relationship, in which the female, “Patience,” gets impatient with her male partner, “Romeo,” for not giving her “de ting”’ — the ring (not what you were thinking) – that she is demanding “now.”
“Patience” was portrayed by Vennis Alleyne and “Romeo” Ralphie Cunningham.
As a tribute to one of the most successful Jamaican-American pop stars, Harry Belafonte, UVCGB sang a “Harry Belafonte Medley”, which included Belafonte’s songs, his signature “Day-O,” “Island in the Sun” and “Coconut Woman.”
Belafonte — a singer, songwriter, activist and actor — was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical genre with an international audience in the 1950s.
UVCGB’s skit, “Enough is Enough,” a hilarious love story, was written by Cuffy-Murray and Lilius Hamblin.
It was based on a married couple, “John” and “Telma,” having relationship problems.
“Telma” accuses “John” of not showing much interest in her and blames him for their marriage not working.
She insists that “Enough is Enough” and invites “John” to seek counseling, but he resists, stating that the marriage is fine.
In the meantime, “Telma’s” housekeeper, “Nancy”, “spills the bean,” telling “Telma” about an affair that her husband is having with one of her best friends, “Florence,” who has been encouraging “Telma” to get a divorce.
“Telma” and “John” argues about the relationship, with “Telma” collaring “John” and throwing him out of the house, demanding divorce, despite advice from her other best friend, “Carol,” not to do so.
“John” returns later and begs for reconciliation, which “Telma” eventually agrees to — only on the condition that he changes his life and starts attending church. “John” acquiesces.
“Telma” was portrayed by Cuffy-Murray; “John” by Owusu Slater; “Florence” by Hamblin; “Nancy” by LaFleur Cyrus; and “Carol” by Gwen Holder.
UVCGB’s 15th Annual Cultural Show also featured a poem, “The Origin of the Steel Pan,” written and renditioned by Liverpool, accompanied by Trinidadian-born pannist, Jeffrey Pierre and drummer, Slater.
The poem underscored the creation of the steel pan in the 1940s by the late Ellie Mannette and Winston “Spree” Simon, and the development and establishment of steel bands worldwide, especially in the Caribbean, Europe, North America and Japan.
Vincentian poet Jennell Paris flew from Seattle, Washington to render “That’s Me”; and Brooklyn’s The Angel of Transformation Dancers and 11-year-old Jessica Wilson, of Vincentian and Nigerian parentage, danced.
Renowned Vincentian trombonist and singer Garfield Palmer returned to the stage to perform “Copy Cat,” and UVCGB choir, accompanied by the UVCGB folk band, brought the house down with “Wuk De Lan”, a crowd pleaser.
“Great show! Me get me money’s worth!” quipped a few patrons at show’s end.