Features — 12 December 2004 — by Adele Ramos


?I think tonight is a very rewarding night not for myself, but for the people that used to know us, seen us, loved us, and then we disappeared,? Prof Drummond told Amandala only moments before the Lord Rhaburn Music Award Show began. ?All of a sudden, here we are again to refresh the old times?for old times? sake.?


Amandala asked Prof Drummond: You still have that fire? Are we going to be seeing some of that fire here tonight?


He responded: ?Well, I am a worker; I like to work. Music is my love, and people is my love. Belize is my love, and that?s why I?m here.?


Dressed as stately as he sings, Prof Drummond, a man who had performed with Rhaburn as early as the 50?s, made his grand entrance from behind the audience, slowly and rhythmically making his way through the right-hand aisle as he sang, culminating his soulful piece on center-stage.


He told us that he wanted to sing one of his hit songs that had made the top of the music charts here for weeks, but was encouraged to do The Duke of Earl instead.


Most of the 30 awardees named Friday night are based right here in Belize City. (See list.) The awards were presented by the dancers of the National Dance Company, including awardee Rosita Baltazar, and Miss Belize – Miss Leilah Pandy.


Unfortunately, a few of the awardees did not make it, including Nelita Castillo, Glenn Bood, Chico Ramos, and Harry ?Chagu? Thompson.


Many of those who did, dedicated their awards to their parents who supported them and from whom some had inherited their talents; their loved ones and spouses, who put up with the pressing demands of the business; and their mentors, who guided them throughout their career.


Notably, not all the awardees were singers. The Lord Rhaburn Award also went deservingly to (1) ?Man At Work,? Terryl Godoy, one of Belize?s most talented and committed painters, whose paintings narrator Ed Yorke said generates the music that comes from nature; (2) the lyrical rapper/poet, Leroy ?The Grandmaster? Young; (3) one of the most recognized names in the entertainment/broadcast business for over a decade, Evan ?Mose? Hyde; and (4) two dedicated dance ambassadors of the National Dance Company – Rosita Baltazar and Althea Sealy.


After being presented with her award, a grateful and humble Althea Sealy recalled that her first performance on the Bliss stage at the age of 8 was to Lord Rhaburn?s I?m Lady to Wine and Dine. Then, she had performed under the directorship of Bob Reneau, whom Bella Carib (Dr. Glenda Arnold) also recognized as her foremost dance mentor in her young days.


Bella Carib was one of the performers who received great accolades from the audience for her sensational on-stage dancing while she performed to her new Christmas tune. A dynamic woman with a stentorian voice, she was also chosen to give the vote of thanks that night.


Many of the performers received ?rousing applauses? (to borrow emcee Kenny Morgan?s phrase) from the audience. Among the top performers were saxophonist Ivor Cacho, balladeer Anthony Richards, singer/musician/producer Clinton ?Junie? Crawford, Lucio Alcoser and his sons of Lucio and the New Generations, and Leela Vernon, who describes herself as ?an old new artist.?


The night also saw the return of an artist who has been on a seven-year hiatus, Bella Carib?s brother – Pupa Curly, who was the first awardee for the night.


?A lot of Belizeans haven?t heard from you in a long time. What have you been up to?? Amandala asked Pupa Curly.


He replied: ?Over the last seven years, I kind of took a long hiatus from the music scene. I went back to school. I completed school now and I actually recently listened to some of my recordings that I have not released as yet. Hopefully we can do something around March, April, maybe even May.?


He told us that he plans to bring back a remix of his hit song, Krack is a Killa.


?I think the crack in Belize is more prevalent today than it was when I first put that out, and I kind a beat myself up sometimes for not coming a little earlier; but of course, you?ve gotta take off time to do the things that are more important,? the Belizean rapper explained.


He said that with his undergraduate degree in international relations and a minor in business, which he obtained at the University of Southern California, he hopes to continue pressing forward and return to Belize in the next five years or so to contribute in the area of policy-making.


?When I first went to Los Angeles, my intention was to go to school, but of course, I got caught up in the drama and trying to survive,? he revealed. ?When I saw that that?s a never-ending cycle, basically that?s what it is, I said, ?You know what, let me take time out.? I know it happened, like, at a time in my career when it seemed like my career was going fast forward, but really and truly, I think it was the right time for me to do what I did; and I decided to go to school.?


Like many of the artists we spoke to on Friday night, he expressed a heartfelt appreciation for Lord Rhaburn?s initiative to recognize Belizean artists, and to bring back some of those names that had faded in the background over the years.


?We did a lot of sowing, so this is the harvesting,? said Pablo Clarke. The award, he said, meant more to him than a million dollars.


Ernest Tillett, who refers to Rhaburn as the Maestro and the Minister of Music, said: ?I think we should really take our hats off to Lord Rhaburn for coming up with something like this, and I hope this is not the last.?


Also integral to the success of the show were its collaborators and main sponsors, among them NICH, Bowen and Bowen, the Bellevue Hotel, the Belize Tourism Board, Amandala, JL?s Quick Loan, and Travellers Ltd.


?I am glad that Mister Rhaburn is recognizing all of us. I also like that there is a lot of support from the Belizean people. I hear tickets are sold out and everything. I feel happy about that. I am all excited!? said Zoila Clarke.


She added that this is her third award?the others she had gotten in the 1980?s from Dell and the Sensations, and from Rhaburn in a previous award show. But Friday?s show is the biggest, said Clarke, who performed the hit that she said had made her popular: I Can?t Take It.


The female performers, though fewer in number than the males, all performed with excellence and style. The powerful female vocalist, Bernadette Gilharry, lead singer of the Gilharry 7 Band, performed her hit single: Fuego Baby, Please Settle Down. Following right behind her was the woman who always commands attention and respect while on stage: Leela Vernon. Leela performed what she calls her anthem – Ah Wah Know Who Se Creole Noh Gat No Kulcha.


?Without performing dat anthem, I won?t feel dat culture ina mi,? she explained to our newspaper.


Another strong performance was that of Ben McKoy, with his still smashing piece, Two Monkey Di Play Pah One Mout Organ, a composition that marries lyrics sung in both English and Spanish, and incorporates entertaining Creole proverbs.


It?s truly hard to say which number was the best?perhaps they all were, but other notable performances were those of Ivor Cacho on sax; Sam Hamilton with Juanita; Junie Crawford on piano; Ernest Tillett performing Louis Armstrong?s What a Wonderful World; and Lucio and his sons, who dexterously rocked the electronic guitars and drums.


Like Prof Drummond, Pablo Clarke, also stylishly attired, made a grand entrance from behind the audience, but instead used the left-hand aisle, as he serenaded the audience, blowing sweet melodies from his clarinet.


The dub poet, ?The Grandmaster,? artfully merged his performance with his short thank you speech at the moment he received his award. PRESSURE! Leroy ?The Grandmaster? Young skillfully interspersed lines from two of his popular poems, Pressure and No Way, as he communicated with presenters and the audience.


The emcee for the night, musician/composer Kenny Morgan, also received a Lord Rhaburn Music Award. Morgan?s main message for the night was keeping the family together. ?A family that plays together, stays together,? he said, when presenting Alcoser and his sons.


The audience was a great one to perform to: they were appreciative and receptive, and entertainer Anthony Richards read them like a book.


Before the final award segment of the show, Richards, a Houston-based Belizean who also goes by the name ?Texas Tony,? performed Frank Sinatra?s My Way. The audience loved it, but they wanted to hear Richard?s own Sweet Belizean Girl. So they heckled at the emcee to bring Richards back on stage.


However, Richards would not return to do the song until after the final set of awardees were recognized. We say that Richards read them like a book because he had every intention of performing the song. Before the show, he had told Amandala that he intended to perform the two songs: My Way and Sweet Belizean Girl.


In the finale, Rhaburn returned to the stage. He was joined by a number of the awardees. Prominent among them was Leela Vernon, who took a microphone and did her thing?as always, with vibrancy and vigor!


The Playaz Band was the back-up band for the night for many of the artists, and their performance was also praiseworthy.


Out of five stars, how else can you rate a show like this but to give it 5 stars?and a bonus of one star, for bringing together such a wide cross section of Belizean luminaries from at home and abroad? Undoubtedly, the audience left with a hunger for more.


What to look forward to from some of the artists:


ANTHONY RICHARDS said that he is looking forward to opening a market for his CD?s in Belize, and hopes to have them available here soon. They include: Anthony Richards Sings Love Songs and Texas Tony Sings Country.


ERNEST TILLETT just did a project, a new CD with Junie Crawford, his producer and arranger. His first was titled, Here?s Looking at Me; the new CD is titled Here?s Looking At Me Again. They should be available at Venus shortly.


LEELA VERNON competes in the ?Brukdong Competition? this weekend. She said that she performs ?buru style? brukdown music. ?We use the goombay drums from the South,? she explained, noting that the style of brukdown is known in places like Monkey River, Punta Gorda, and Mango Creek areas. ?It?s a little bit different than Mr. Peters? style.?


Leela Vernon also said that she is working on an album that she hopes to complete by Easter 2005.


SHIRLEY BOWEN FERGUSON: The singer, poet, storywriter wants to focus more on her writing in 2005. ?Some years ago, I had attempted to write a novel ? ?Cutie in the history of my life.? I was Cutie,? said Ferguson. ?I intend to work harder next year on my short stories and books.?


PROF DRUMMOND: At the turn of the year, he hopes to move ahead with his latest project that will compile songs from 1967 to the present. He hasn?t put a name to it yet.


?What I am doing in the CD, I am doing some of the old tunes that I did back then, and I am putting a new light to them, with a new touch of flavor, and take it up to another level.?


PUPA CURLY: He?s coming back early next year with a new version of Krack is a Killa. He previewed it for us:


?It goes a little something like this: [Sings] Unu no fi gang bang, cah dat deh ting wrong; unu no fi touch di crack, yuh gwine to hell an back; unu no fi gang?anyway, mi tell unu once, mi tell unu twice, crack is a killa; some tek mi advise and now deh look heltia, mi tell unu once, mi tell unu twice, crack is a killa; some seh, you Pupa, you smoke ganja, dat?s a liar. But anyway, me tell about a little bredda name Peter. Him lef him country, swim cross di borda, come a Sea Breeze, come check di Pupa. Soh mi gawn down ina mi pocket fi a five dolla. Here yout man, satisfy yuh hunga. Laata, mi a tek yu to yuh aunt Lorna. Three weeks lata, pan di carna, di bwoy ah wipe winshiel fi ah quaata. Anyway, you get di idea?deh pan di crack, again!?



Awardees:


1. Pupa Curly, Los Angeles, CA, USA


2. Zoila Clarke, Belize City, Belize


3. Sam Hamilton, Belize City, Belize


4. Bernadette Gilharry, Corozal, Belize


5. Michael Usher, Belize City, Belize


6. Leela Vernon, Punta Gorda, Belize City


7. Colville Young, Jr., Belize City, Belize


8. Ben McKoy, New York, USA


9. Ivor Cacho, Belize City, Belize


10. Chico Ramos, New York, USA


11. Leroy ?The Grandmaster? Young, Belize City, Belize


12. Evan ?Mose? Hyde, Belize City, Belize


13. Lucio Alcoser, Sr., Orange Walk, Belize


14. Clinton Crawford, Jr., Los Angeles, USA


15. Shirley Bowen Ferguson, Belize City, Belize


16. Rosita Baltazar, Belize City, Belize


17. Santino Castillo, Belize City, Belize


18. Terryl ?Man At Work? Godoy, Belize City, Belize


19. Percival ?Prof? Drummond, Los Angeles, CA, USA


20. Anthony Richards, Houston, Texas, USA


21. Bella Carib, Los Angeles, CA


22. Pablo Clarke, New York, USA


23. Compton Fairweather, Belize City, Belize


24. Henry Young, Bird?s Isle, Belize City


25. Ernest Tillett, Los Angeles, CA


26. Althea Sealy, Belize City, Belize


27. Cleveland Berry, Placencia, Stann Creek, Belize


28. Pablo Collado, Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo, Belize


29. Kenny Morgan, Belize City, Belize


30. Dale Davis, Belize City, Belize

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