JOSE Tilipao Limes, David Anthony S. Hosono, Lynn Fitial, Felix Fitial, Raymond Fitial and Fautisto G. Tebuteb were honored at the 2022 Flame Tree Arts Festival for sharing their unique talents and contributions to the perpetuation of culture, customs and local traditions.
Limes, affectionately known as ‘Joe’, ‘Ping’ or the ‘General’, was a cultural artist and advocate for the preservation and enhancement of Refaluwasch or Carolinian cultural dance and music.
Limes is remembered for the local dance troupes and bands he helped form, and his ability to “serenaminate an entire room with his ukulele or guitar while singing local Chamorro, Refaluwasch, and Micronesian tunes”.
Hosono, a cultural dance performer, is remembered for his contributions to promoting Refaluwasch culture overseas through dances, songs and crafts. Also known as “Boi” and “Dave”, he was known for his “energy and personality which personified the characteristics of a true performer and performer”.
Father and daughter Felix Fitial and Lana Lynn Fitial have been recognized for their contributions to the local music scene.
Felix Fitial was known as one of the first pioneers of Refaluwasch music. As a musician, songwriter and lyricist, he helped inspire a whole generation of local musicians. His unique style of playing guitar in loose key tuning leaves a lasting impression on listeners.
Singer, dancer, songwriter and music enthusiast Lana Lynn Fitial is known for her “melodic and improvisational style” when playing the ukulele and electronic keyboard.
Fautisto G. Tebuteb, a traditional performer of Refaluwasch, was born in Saipan and raised in Agrihan. He was 15 when he started performing as one of the traditional ‘Maas’ dancers and male dancers.
Raymond N. Fitial is remembered for his “infectious voice”. He grew up in families that loved to sing and didn’t need to hire musicians because they were musicians.
He was admired by his peers for his willingness to sing on stage with little persuasion when asked.
“They may be gone but will never be forgotten,” said Department of Culture and Cultural Arts Secretary Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero. “Let us remember them and the legacy they left with their unique talents.
This year, the Flame Tree Arts Festival celebrated its 39th, 40th and 41st celebrations. The annual event has not taken place for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The festival was held from April 29 to May 1 at Sugar King Park and the CNMI Museum grounds with the theme “Healing through the Arts”. The Master and Mistresses of Ceremonies were Gordon Marciano, Frances Sablan and Eva Cruz.
“The theme is particularly fitting given what we’ve been through (Covid 19 pandemic),” DCCA Secretary Deleon Guerrero said. “Our islands had been on shutdown for two years and we stayed at home refraining from social gatherings to keep our community safe. Despite all that we have endured, we remain as strong and resilient Marianas as ever.
Coming together again as one community to celebrate the arts “is healing for mind, body and soul,” added Deleon Guerrero.
“We’re back! And we’ll continue our tradition of celebrating our annual festival and celebrating our artists and community as a whole.
In his invocation and blessing, Bishop Ryan Jimenez said, “The Flame Tree Arts Festival celebrates our unique cultural heritage through music, arts, crafts, food and even the communal act of coming together as one. people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
The Bishop added, “Like the flamboyant that blooms at this time of year, may we too bloom and see the worth and goodness of every person in the community.”
In his remarks, Governor Ralph DLG Torres recounted his experience with local music as a young man in Boise, Idaho, where he attended high school and college.
“I remember… listening to Chamorro music, and I was asking my father for Chamorro words that I didn’t know…. Music [allowed me] continue to speak my mother tongue, Chamorro”, in the United States.
Speaking to local musical artists at this year’s festival, Torres said: “You don’t know what effect you have on people. [who listen to local music] whether here at the CNMI or abroad, you are changing people’s lives.
The main sponsors of this year’s combined festival were Bridge Capital LLC., Tan Siu Lin Foundation, IT&E, Marpac, Triple J, Bank of Guam and Pacific Development, Inc.