Prominent, Brooklyn-based, Caribbean cultural group Tropicalfete, Inc. on Sunday hosted its grand finale for 2002, described as “a unique look into a nostalgic Caribbean Christmas.”
Natoya Mejias Figueroa, Tropicalfete’s teaching artist and performer, told Caribbean Life that the production, at The Theater, City Tech, downtown Brooklyn, was “an exceptional display of the efforts of the organization to educate and enrich the next generation with the tools they need to excel in the entertainment industry, while focusing on indigenous skills from the Caribbean Diaspora.
“The passion, dedication and professionalism showed by both the teaching artists and students claimed the engagement of the audience from the opening libations by the Healing Drum Collective to the Final Jam,” she said.
“This was, indeed, a world class production, and a unique look into a nostalgic Caribbean Christmas – definitely a look forward to what’s in store for 2023 and beyond,” Mejias Figueroa added.
Alton Aimable, Tropicalfete’s St. Lucian-born founder and chief executive officer, said the grand finale was “a cultural gift to the community for the holidays.”
He said the production featured, among others, steelpan, stilts, African Drums, dancing, singing, acting, masqueraders, limbo, reggae, soca, kompa, parang and zouk.
Performers included: Tropicalfete’s Steel Pan Ensemble; Mr. Rolland on Trumpet and Mr. Buddy on Violin; Tropicalfete’s Stilting Unit; Tropicalfete’s Voices; 5. Tropicalfete’s Mas; Tropicalfete’s Dance & Theater; Prospect Park African Drum Circle; Songstress Gayrleen Orange with a theatrical performance; Ace pianist Ricardo Greenaway; Soca Santa Jammin Jeff; Daria and Tanisha as Miss Clause; and Mr. Carnival Mr. Pearly.
“In our production, Tropicalfete addressed the violence in our community that needs to come to an end,” Aimable said. “Art and culture are the remedies. As we say, ‘Tropicalfete uses culture as a tool for social transformation’”.
In addition, he said Tropicalfete’s Award of Excellence 2022 was presented to Trinidad-born Etienne Charles, renowned trumpeter, percussionist and composer.
“Etienne Charles is a performer, composer and storyteller who is continuously searching for untold stories and sounds with which to tell them,” Aimable said. “His lush trumpet sound, varied compositional textures and pulsating percussive grooves enable him to invoke trance, soothing and exciting listeners, while referencing touchy and sometimes controversial subjects in his music.”
He said Tropicalfete’s Award of Excellence honors “the accomplishments and contributions of persons and/or organizations that have had a role in the development of the Caribbean Community.
“The achievement of the awardees is significant on an international level, where their work has had a positive impact on the Caribbean community in the areas of culture, social life, sports and economics,” Aimable said.
He said Sunday’s Grand Finale 2022 was “a cultural experience” enjoyed by all.
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