Imelda Rustveld and Gabriel Ras recognized as cultural giants

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(Oranjestad)—The first “Fiesta Tipico di Bario” (“Typical Party of the Neighborhood”) was organized at the Neighborhood Center Brazil by the Typical Aruban Union Foundation (UTR). This was a beautiful initiative by the leaders of the Typical of Aruba group in order to promote traditional music at the neighborhood centers around the island.

Culture is meant to be experienced, and events like this is ideal for maintaining our folklore alive so we can pass this on to younger generations. The goal is to have a “Fiesta Tipico” event every month in one of the many neighborhood centers on the island so we can allow our traditional music to resonate within each neighborhood. This will be possible with the help of UNOCA, which has made funding available to cover the costs of this cultural event. During the Fiesta Tipico event in the Brazil neighborhood, the minister of Culture, Xiomara Maduro, has given recognition to two artists—one a singer and the other a musician; two cultural giants that have made significant contributions to our music culture.

Mrs. Imelda Rustveld
The first person recognized for her outstanding contribution is Mrs. Norma Imelda Rustveld, better known as just Imelda. Mrs. Rustveld is married to Julio Quandus and has five children. She is known in the music world on the island, especially as a popular Mariachi singer. She had participated in several Ranchera Festivals, both in Aruba and Curacao. As a child, Imelda also sang in various holiday groups. In 2011, she founded her own group called “Aguinaldo Flor di Pasco,” in which she was a choir singer and manager. We Arubans know Imelda’s version of the song called “Caballito Blanco,” which is still played often around Christmas time.

Mr. Gabriel Ras
The second honoree is Mr. Gabriel Ras. Mr. Ras was born in a musical family. His siblings all play various musical instruments, and at 12 years old, he learned to play the cuarta. At 17, he founded the band “The Young Adventure.” At that time, this band was extremely popular, and was often booked to play at parties and events. After that, they started playing in different hotels. In 1977, Gabriel left the island to go live in The Netherlands. It is here that he also played in different musical groups in different parts of the country, as well as in Belgium and Germany.

In 1980, Gabriel returned to Aruba and played in the band called “Vibracion 74”, and had participated in various festivals. Gabriel also played in a house band at the Bushiri Hotel as well as other renowned hotels on the island for several years. Gabriel has also played in other bands, including “To Remember” and “Reflexion Band.” His siblings also played in various bands.

Let’s keep supporting what’s ours

Minister Maduro gives her thanks to the UTR foundation for their beautiful initiative in preserving and promoting Aruba’s music culture. The minister also extends an invitation to the public to further support what is ours. Our traditional music is ours alone, and now that UTR and UNOCA is bringing this to neighborhoods, let’s take advantage and give our support with our presence.