Officialdom to honor steel band icon

Steel band pioneer Neville Jule.

A commendation from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, a Proclamation from the New York City Council and a Proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams are expected to be among the accolades conferred on legendary steel band pioneer Neville Jules, when tribute is paid to him by the Trinidad & Tobago Folk Arts Institute Sunday evening April 26 at Brooklyn’s Tropical Paradise Ballroom.

The City Council’s formal recognition of Jules for his contribution to the collective pioneering effort that led to creation of the steel band and his continued engagement of the art form since then, was sponsored by Councilmember Jumane Williams of the 45th District in Brooklyn.

Les Slater, chairman of the Folk Arts Institute said, “There may very well be other elected officials planning to identify with this salute to a true cultural luminary.” The Folk Arts Institute will itself be honoring Jules with its premier award, the Citation of Merit.

Jules, who is now 87, was one of the key members of the group of inspired artisans in Trinidad whose ingenious tinkering gave birth to what in time became a fascinating, world-renowned phenomenon in musical culture. His role as leader and guiding influence for more than two decades of one of Trinidad and Tobago’s top-tier and most enduring bands, Trinidad All Stars, is embedded in steel band lore.

The steel band icon has been a resident of Brooklyn since migrating to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago early in the 1970s. He was for some time an instructor in the rudiments of steel band music for youngsters in certain Brooklyn public schools. He was also the inspiration for the setting up of a Trinidad All Stars unit in Brooklyn which catered to both adults and children interested in learning the art form. Although he relinquished leadership of the All Stars band in Port of Spain so many years ago, Jules has furnishing music for the band to perform until past the age of 80.

The celebratory dinner event in honor of Neville Jules commences at 6:00 p.m. on April 26. Tropical Paradise Ballroom is located at 1367 Utica Ave. (between Farragut and Foster). Information regarding tickets for the event or any other details is available at 718-252-6161.

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