IT HAD TO BE HER: Forbes addresses the gathering.
The production team behind Sunday’s warm and wonderful launch of Leonie Forbes’ new tome Leonie: Her Autobiography didn’t have to cast their net too wide in bringing together the right blend of talents to pay tribute to the living legend in word, music, movement and song. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single soul who would’ve turned down such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Celebrating Forbes’ remarkable life and her passion for the creative arts in all its facets, the launch was a mid-morning affair, hosted by the Little Theatre, steeped in inspiration – and a measure of “liberation,” thanks to the divine Elaine Wint, who ably served as compere of the proceedings.
Tony Patel gave an inspired interpretation of the poem “September” while actors Christopher Daley and Nadean Rawlins were pitch-perfect with their recitals of excerpts from Forbes’ anthology Moments By Myself. A lovely duet of “The Prayer” came from soprano Carole Reid and baritenor/keyboardist Harold Davis. They were followed by vivacious dancers from L’Acadco and a robust sequence from the members of Drum Xplosion.
The rest of the morning’s offerings were no less fascinating – from Robin Baston’s fantastic video montage to stirring passages from the autobiography read by actresses Makeda Solomon, Sakina Deer and Ruth HoShing to a melodious medley by the Jamaica Folk Singers.
“[Leonie] is among the stalwarts of the creative imagination in this country,” noted Sydney Bartley, Jamaica’s Principal Director of Culture, during his brief address. “She has established herself as one of the matriarchs of our culture. We cherish your involvement, your craft, your worth and substance, and your presence among us.”
The lady’s response in the end? “My feelings have overwhelmed me,” Forbes tearily offered at the podium. “Thank you all.”
IN STEP: L'Acadco dancers perform a lively piece by L'Antoinette Stines.
THE READERS: Solomon, HoShing and Deer illuminate Forbes' past.