Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Sunshine Awards 2010 Honours

Story by Allison Skeete
Photos by VisionsInPictures

The Sunshine Awards Honours African and Caribbean Diasporas Multi-Cultural Artists & Stalwarts

New York City – Sat., October 24, 2010: The Sunshine Awards hosted its 22nd Annual Awards Show in New York City to honor many of the stalwarts and historic figures in Caribbean Arts Performances for Dance, Music and more. Hosted by the dynamite comedic duo from Trinidad, Nickki Crosby & Errol Fabien, the Sunshine Awards established by Gil Figaro; is held to honor the entertainment and performance art forms indigenous to Africa and the Caribbean Diaspora as well as those who have contributed to the success and awareness of many in civic mindedness, and political activism. Figaro congratulated and thanked the honorees for uplifting our spirits and incalculable sense of pride in all of us. The Sunshine Awards is for him the center of Caribbean Culture outside of the Diaspora.

The night’s event began with words of condolences to the island of Barbados on the loss of former Prime Minister, David Thompson who passed away in the early hours of the morning that day, from the Counsel Generals of Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua, Guyana’s Brentnol Evans and event sponsor Vincent Huggins of National Staffing Associates also commented on the loss of a fellow leader in the region.

Present among the nights’ award winners were Playwright Dorbrene O’Marde of Antigua; Dancin Africa of Barbados; Ramiro Crawford of Costa Rica, Performance Artist and Journalist, he is Director and Editor of Limon Roots, the Greater Caribbean Magazine.

Famoro Dioubate of Guinea, West Africa who is known for playing traditional African music playing the Balafon which is an instrument closely related to the Xylophone; he gave a rousing performance playing for the audience, it was the first time many had ever heard the music. Dioubate is passionate about his music, he is exposing his young daughter to it and more… I didn’t go to school he said, but I want her to know more and to do more than me so I think it is important that she is here; he began playing the Balafon at age 7 and today performs with his band and Raul Ronblatt who is also h is manager. Ronblatt has been a true supporter since hearing the music, he spends as much time promoting it as he does performing with their group.

One of the more poignant performances and expression of thanks for his recognition was given by Yves Joseph an original member of Tabou Combo, one of the best known music groups from Haiti… he spoke of the impoverishment of his homeland where he and the group continue to give back, they are rebuilding a school destroyed in the January earthquake, the building is the childhood home of Joseph and his mother; he spoke of the rich history of Haiti as the first nation of independent Black people and of the circumstances of poverty coming at the hands of her former rulers and U.S. political positions; he ended his commentary with Tabou Combo’s hit Haiti Will Never Die written after the devastating earthquake earlier this year.

Drupatee Persad accepts her award from host Errol Fabien

Drupatee Persad held the distinction as the lone female awardee this year; hailing form Trinidad & Tobago, she’s spent 27 years reigning as a top Chutney and cross-over Soca artist who’s performed with Machel Montano and Allison Hinds; her most popular hit is Mr. Bissessar which she did perform.

The Mighty Chalkdust aka Dr. Hollis Liverpool and Dr. Harold Robertson, introduced the Hall of Fame Inductees which included their fellow countryman, the multi-talented and well known Bill Trotman, steel band historian and broadcast personality who lectures on the art from’s inception and growth; he’s the man to see if you want to know anything about Steelband music.
Alfred ‘Sack’ Mayers, another Trinidadian added to the list for his role in breaking the stereotype barriers of being a ‘pan man’ in the early days of the steel band music.

Dave Martins and Joe Brown the original Bass player for the Tradewinds accepted their awards as well; Martins expressed his thanks at the honor and cited the need for more events and means for more stalwarts in our Diaspora to be showcased and revered; ‘we have gotten better’ he said but we still need to do more to preserve the history and roots of where our art forms come from and survive he said; he’d never heard of Albert ‘Sacks’ Mayers and wasn’t aware of some of the ‘pan man stereotype’ history behind steel band before the night of the awards.   Martins later performed for the audience and inject several humorous stories to the delight of the crowd.   Above, l– r: Dave Martins with Guyana Counsel General, Brentnol Evans.

Notable Guyanese in attendance supporting Martins recognition included Counsel General Brentnol & Mrs. Evans, and former GDF Col. Desmond Roberts.  Below, the night’s host and honorees along with Calypsonian Designer end the event singing a tribute to the Soca King Arrow who passed away recently.

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