Courtesy of: The Morning News
ORANJESTAD – Stichting Arubaanse Carnaval, or SAC, the Aruba Carnaval Foundation, is the organizing committee for the Children and Youth Tumberito Festival, which took place last Friday, January 24. Every year SAC dedicates the festival in honor of a bastion of Carnaval.
This year, the honor goes to Lionel “Rupi Rupi” Croes. SAC President Tecla Kelly presented Mr. Croes with a special plaque, honoring him for his years of dedication and support to the festival.
Lionel Croes began singing at a very young age, in 1984, when his mother, Lilian (Shi Preke), made him compete in a Ranchera festival, He won first prize. In 1985, his uncle, Chinto Croes, composed a tumba for him to sing and compete in the Children Tumba Festival. It was titled, “E Pato di Carnaval” – the Carnaval Duck, and Lionel won the Children Tumba crown.
In 1986, Lionel competed with the song “Ta Mi ta e Guy” – “I am the Guy” and won the first finalist title.
After that he went to the Netherlands and in 1989, represented Aruba in a Tumba Festival with the same song “I am the Guy,” which was adapted by Antillian musicians. He won first prize, a grand accomplishment, taking into account that he was a juvenile among all the adult singers.
In 1989, Lionel returned to Aruba. On February 2, 1990, he participated in a Youth Tumba Festival with the song ” E Trein di Carnaval” – The Carnaval Train, again taking first place.
After that victory he competed in several Tumba Festivals and now, thanks to his teacher, Harry Zimmerman, Lionel composes his own tumba songs.
His first composition was “Carta pa La Reina” – Letter for the Queen, followed by many compositions for Tumberito Festival singers and even Tumba Festival singers
Lionel’s motto is: “If you cannot do something right…then don’t do it.”
He dedicates a lot of time and enthusiasm to his songs, the words and tunes. According to Lionel, if he feels comfortable and sure that his song can touch a heart, then he is sure that his song will win.
SAC thanks Lionel Croes for his unfailing support and hopes that this honoring serves as a stimulus for him to continue helping kids and the youth to compete in the Children and Youth Tumberito Festivals in the coming years.