Alton Aimable, the St. Lucian-born director of the Brooklyn-based entertainment group Tropicalfete, Inc., says the group dedicated its final concert for 2019, “A Musical Gift to the Community,” to late member Yvette Johnson.
Aimable told Caribbean Life that Johnson, a steel pan player and stilt dancer with Tropicalfete, Inc., died on Jan. 5, 2019. She was 69.
He said the special tribute was held on Dec. 22 at the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse Theatre, downtown Brooklyn.
“The event was hosted by artist and educator, Miss Tanisha Burke, and was well attended by an appreciative audience,” Aimable said.
“Salieu Suso was the opening act of the evening and was well received, as he entertained the crowd with the melodious sounds of the African Kora,” he added.
Aimable said the Urban Dance Opportunity, under the mentorship of Rakiah Henderson, “showed off their special dance moves,” with Tropicalfete Voices delivering “a unique rendition of ‘Silent Night,’ ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Savannah Grass.’”
“With only four Saturdays of practice, voice coaches Miss Daria Primus and Miss Gayrleen Orange were the ones responsible for such a feel-good performance,” Aimable said.
He said soca artiste Julius “had the crowd singing and dancing to the pulsating sound of the sweet soca music,” and that “the crowd went in an uproar when the hostess announced that it was time for the Tropicalfete Stilt Dancers to perform some dancing tricks.”
“Under the guidance of Roshamba Marcelle, Charles Watts and Caitlyn Pierre, the ever-enthusiastic stilt dancers put on some incredibly performances,” Aimable said.
“One of the noticeable performances was by the three male stilt dancers, who did an impersonation of the Incredible Hulk; while the Limbo Dancers under the leadership of Miss Augustine Abadia, also known as Miss Candice, showcased their flexibility in the most amazing styles,” he added.
Aimable said another much-anticipated performance was the closing act.
“When the Tropicalfete Steelpan Ensemble hit the first note, the crowd gave them a standing ovation,” he said. “They gave an exhilarating performance, which was enjoyed by all and sundry.
“The performers and attendees are already looking forward to Tropicalfete, Inc.’s next performance,” he added.
Aimable said the event was “very interactive,” with the audience participating in the spinning cultural wheel competition in which two members won “very attractive prizes.”
On behalf of New York City Council Alicka Ampry-Samuel, he said citations were given to teaching artists, Daria Primus, Orange and Charles Watts.
Aimable said awards were also presented to the Best Stilt Performer, Best Steelpan Player and Tropicalfete Voices.
In addition, he said Tropicalfete, Inc. presented four students in its program with college scholarships for the forthcoming school year.
A minute’s silence and tributes were paid to persons in the arts who transitioned in 2019, Aimable said.
Additionally, he said glowing tributes also paid to Johnson.
“Miss Johnson was a strong and inspirational individual to every member of the Tropicalfete Family,” Aimable said. “In the blink of an eye, she would jump on her stilts, and everyone would be encouraged to do the same.”
On playing the steelpan, instructorAshley Mystiq Murray, nicknamed Johnson, “Woman on de Bass”, Aimable said.
“Miss Johnson will definitely be missed for her kind words of encouragement and perseverance,” he said.