Tropicalfete’s End of Summer Carnival Festival pushes the envelope
“Carnival past, present and future meets” was the tagline for the Brooklyn-based Tropicalfete’s End of Summer Carnival Festival.
Alton Aimable, the St. Lucian-born director of Tropicalfete, told Caribbean Life on Wednesday that his organization “lived up to its goals” during the virtual event.
He said it highlighted different traditions of carnival, explored new ground with an aerialist, and, most important, included the youth in the overall production – broadcasting, video, sound, performance and design.
“The hosts, Melissa Noel and Karen Deterville, aka (also known as) Fimber, provided some excellent commentary on the performances and had an interactive discussion with the audience on the history of carnival,” Aimable said.
He said the event got on the way with the “Don’t Rush Challenge” produced by Tykime Davis.
“This latest challenge on social media does not require anyone to leave their homes,” Aimable said. “Masqueraders dress up in their carnival costumes and their regular outfits for the ‘Don’t Rush Challenge’.
“They pass the different Caribbean flags from one home to another jamming to Alison Hinds’s soca track, ‘West Indian,’” Aimable added.
He said Aerialist Sherisse Bideshi and Sade Ellis “grooved to some sweet soca music in the air.
“They used the Lyra Hoop to a accomplish the task, and their selected song came from Kes (the Trinidadian band),” Aimable said.
He said veteran calypsoian and past recipient of the 2015 Tropicalfete’s Award of Excellence, Mervyn “Dr. Witty” Carter was scheduled to be part of the performing cast to deliver some extempo and calypso.
Unfortunately, Aimable said he was hospitalized the day before the event and was, therefore, unable to perform.
He said the show’s producers aired a past Dr. Witty video performance.
Aimable said 13-year-old John Peters from Tropicalfete’s Steel Pan Ensemble played Lord Kitchener’s “Old Lady Walk A Mile”; Deborah Spooner showcased the stilts/moko jumbie artform; and Shaquille Darius performed the limbo.
He said the blustery weather “did not cooperate with plans to showcase fire-eating, but you can expect to see this at a Tropicalfete event in the future.”
Aimable said Daria and Deuel, lead vocalists of group’s band, sent the audience in a frenzy with their performance.
He also said Charles Watts, one of Tropicalfete’s instructors, “did a quick taboo bamboo demonstration with the live band.
“During band’s performance, dancer Diamond Roach came out to depict an ‘ole mas’ on coronavirus, “The Coronavirus pandemic is a preview of the Climate change pandemic”,” Aimable said.
He said dancer Keisha James modeled the “pretty mas costume,” designed by 14-year-old Zoe Farrell, under Aimable’s supervision.
Aimable said James and Roach “kept the audience on a high with their dance moves.”
He said Tropicalfete’s tagline is “using culture as a tool for social transformation.”
Aimable said the organization used the event to communicate two important messages to the audience – Vote and Complete the Census.
“Singer Deuel was passionate about letting his community know the importance of voting,” he said, stating that two PSA videos on the census were played.
The first video was by recording artist Alegba Jahyile, who laid out the message in Creole/kompa: “Renpli Resansman An” (Complete the Census), Aimable said.
The second video by Cheryl Vincent, “Get Counted”, was “a soca track, with a touch of pan steel,” Aimable said.
In addition, he said the audience was able to see past performances of Tropicalfete’s Steel Pan Ensemble, Stilting Unit, and Dance and Mas “in one presentation.”
According to Aimable, instructor Ashley Murray” let her opinion known (that) it is best to have the different groups in the organization perform together more often.
“Before the pandemic came, Tropicalfete was working towards this and raising the bar,” he said, disclosing that Tropicalfete’s plan is “to build on this event and be very imaginative for our next presentation, the Finale Concert, in December.”
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