What do Handel’s famous 1724 opera, Giulio Cesare, the 1940s song These Foolish Things and Jay-Z’s “Encore” have in common and how they help tell a tale about Barbados’ Alison Hinds in New York City?
In each of the well-known musical works, the immortalised words– I Came, I Saw, I Conquered – which were attributed to Julius Caesar in a letter to the Roman Senate in 46 BC found a comfortable place.
And although Hinds, the melodious, sensuous and popular “Queen of Soca,” didn’t include Caesar’s words in the lyrics of her songs during an excellent, lively, audience-participatory performance on a recent Saturday evening in Brooklyn, she probably knew that “veni, vidi, vici” aptly described what she did as the headliner and award recipient at the 10th anniversary gala of the Young Barbadian Professionals Society, (YBPS), a remarkable organisation in America.
“It was great to see the Bajan spirit alive and well and to see so many people happy to be able to recognise artistes, who have been out there for a long time representing the country,” Hinds told the Sunday Sun. “It was something very real for me to feel that appreciation. The audience was so receptive and singing to everything. It made my heart feel good.”
Hinds, and Edwin Yearwood were presented with the Society’s Living Legend Award for their contributions to the enhancement of Barbadian culture after they appeared before 250 Bajans and other West Indians at Dyker Beach Golf Club, an upscale centre in a predominantly middle class European community in Brooklyn.
“I deeply appreciated the award given to me and to Edwin for our work,” said Hinds. “It makes you feel good, very good.”
The presence of both Hinds and Yearwood, along with “Lead Pipe and Sadis,” Adrian Clarke on the steel pan, and David Pilgrim’s Island Soul Band as well as the recognition given to Miles Robertson, an extraordinary musician who received the Trailblazer award, Vickie Cutting, the Society’s outstanding membership service award and the special salute to Carlton Murrell, a prominent Barbadian and Caribbean painter were key to the Society’s ability to get such a large audience to attend the US$100-plus a plate dinner.
“It was enormously successful,” said Cutting, the Society’s co-chair as she reflected on the evening that helped YBPS reach its goals of aiding the education of Barbadians at home and in the US “Among the goals of our organisation is the promotion of Barbados culture and Alison, Edwin and the others on the programme exemplify what’s best of our culture.”
The evening was part of the organisation’s top ten campaign which was underpinned by the ten reasons given by the attorneys, physicians, academics, executives and other members gave for their “love” for Barbados.
Tony Best is the Nation’s North American correspondent. Email Bestra@aol.com.