Dominica: Golden Drum 2012 Awards Recognizes Cultural Promoters

Da Vibes reports that the National Cultural Council recently recognized The Flamboyant Dancers, Genesis Steel Orchestra, the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers, Michel Raffoul, and Alex Bruno, for their dedication towards the advancement of Dominica’s cultural art form. Awards were presented special at the Golden Drum 2012 Awards ceremony last week. Minister of Culture Justina Charles presented the awards, urging these artists to continue with their “labour of love” towards the development of culture on the island.

The Flamboyant Dancers of Dublanc [led by Mrs. Rosette Bertrand] which was formed in 2005, were recognized for the preservation and promotion of traditional dance and music. “For the past six years, the Flamboyant Dancers have participated in the keenly contested competitions in the traditional arts, a highlight of the Independence Anniversary Celebrations. Their highly polished presentations and stunning creole outfitting have rendered them top scorers on a regular basis. It is because of a consistent high level of excellence that the Flamboyant Dancers have been selected on a number of occasions to represent Dominica in Cultural Exchanges regionally,” according to the citation read at the ceremony. [. . .]  The group has also experimented with creative dance, assisted with community clean up campaigns and youth summer programmes.

Genesis Steel Orchestra was formed in August 2003, evolving from a summer steel pan workshop organized by the Division of Culture under the tutelage of Mr. Edward Andre, a master pianist. The group has participated in several regional competitions including the Caripan Junior Steel Pan Competition in December of 2003 and the Seven-a-Side steel competitions in 2005 and 2006 in Barbados. In 2011 Genesis Steel Orchestra placed first in the Pan Savanne Steelband Competition staged as part of that year’s Carnival Programme of activities. [. . .]

Meanwhile, the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers was born in 1994 as a collaborative project between the Division of Culture and the then Sixth Form College [. . .] were awarded for the development and promotion of choral music. The Sisserou Singers’ perform at a number of events throughout the year. The group’s two major presentations are: an annual production staged towards the middle of the year and a humanitarian tour at Christmas for the benefit of senior citizens in various homes for the aged. With a membership of thirty-three (33), and being guided by the motto “Anything worth doing is worth doing well”, operates under the direction of Sr. Cultural Officer Pearle Christian.

Michel Raffoul, who has been building carnival costumes for over twenty years, was recognized for the preservation and development of carnival costume making and design. In 1983, he assisted Gibbson Blanc with the building of a carnival costume worn by Carnival queen contestant Marie – Louise Winston and this served as his initiation into the field of Costume building and design and to this day he has remained a faithful promoter of the art form. Every year he spends hours crafting creative pieces to be showcased by carnival queen and princess contestants. He also specialises in crown making for various competitions including the fiercely contested Carnival Calypso Monarch competition as well as the crowns for the Mas Camp and stardom calypso tents. [. . .]

Alex Bruno who hails from Calibishie received commendation for his contribution towards the development and promotion of steelband. [. . .] Bruno’s main outlet for creativity and artistic expression, Téyat Pawòl, was established following his participation as a member of the Dominica delegation to Carifesta VII. He has been the theatre company’s Writer/Artistic Director from its inception in 2001. Alex has been involved in 19 plays from the 1990’s; 14 of which he has written and directed. He has also written 3 one-act plays, numerous poems, songs, skits, and is in the process of producing a book on the history of “Dominica Calypso”.

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