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An electrifying performance by Bridgette Blucher

An electrifying performance by Bridgette Blucher


by Nelson A. King
in New York 16.FEB.07

Bridgette Blucher, the award-winning Caribbean Gospel diva, two Sundays ago brought the Friends of Crown Heights Education Center in Brooklyn down with such an electrifying, soul-riveting performance that one probably thought Joel Toney, an ex-diplomat, had already won the multi-candidate race for New York City Council.

Blucher, the daughter of the late Spiritual Baptist, “Pointer Blucher,” of New Grounds, flew in from Florida, where she now resides, purposely to help raise funds, and, essentially, canvas votes for Toney, who faces a formidable contest to capture the 40th Councilmanic District seat in Brooklyn, vacated by newly-elected Caribbean-American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.{{more}}

Patrons – young, middle-aged and old – sprang to their feet, danced, sang along, and waved hands, with anything they could muster, as Blucher held them in paroxysms for more than half-an-hour of the three-hour-long concert.

She belted out some of the hot numbers in her wide repertoire, including “Down in the Valley,” “God Bigger than Everything,” and mesmerized the gospel-starved with “Rivers of Babylon.”

Those who stayed home, primarily to watch America’s “Super Bowl” finale in football, certainly missed a gospel feast.

But those who braved the freezing weather – in the 20’s, Fahrenheit – had no regrets in supporting a worthy cause while being spiritually-filled.

A host of other artistes augmented the bill – Tobagonian evangelist Wendy Mitchell; Guyanese “Pablo G;” and Vincentians Erlene Williams-King, Ellsworth “Life Boy” Quammie, Angus “Brigo” Lynch, Ernie Hoyte and Haywood Thomas.

Toney’s classmates at the Grammar School, the Rev. Fr. Ulric C. Jones, pastor at St. James The Less Episcopal (Anglican) Church in Jamaica, Queens, and musical arranger extraordinaire Frankie McIntosh offered their blessings and support.

McIntosh, the Caribbean’s leading calypso/soca arranger, unaccustomed to playing gospel music, extemporaneously jazzed up a few popular gospel hits on the key board, such as “Down by the Riverside,” with netballers Judith “Baffy” Cuffy and Claudette Thomas-Butler providing impromptu background vocals.

The omnipresent disc jockey Supa Eyes furnished music throughout the spell-binding event.

Toney, a Calliaqua native, said he will serve all residents in the predominantly Caribbean district if elected during the special election on Feb. 20, stating that he is no “imported” candidate – a pointed jab at some of his opponents.

“I have been a leader in this community,” he said. “I live here in the district; I know every neighborhood in the district and understand their issues; I have a record of achievements as a community leader.”

“The totality of my record demonstrates that I am uniquely positioned and qualified to hold this office,” he affirmed.

The race has trickled down from the initial, record 20-odd candidates to the latest count of nine, including Toney. The others are: three Jamaicans, a Haitian, a Panamanian, a Costa Rican, an African American and a Jew.