The steelband fraternity in Brooklyn, NY is mourning the passing of Hansel Leon, a victim of COVID-19. “Hanny” as he was popularly called promoted steelpan music in the U.S. for almost four decades. He was once married to popular Jean Leon, well known Trinbagonian-New Yorker and former Director of Nursing at Kings County Medical Center.
Mr. Leon made his annual pilgrimage to Trinidad & Tobago carnival on February 5; he remained in his birth country to avoid wintry New York. He fell ill on March 13 and admitted at Couva Hospital, Trinidad. He expired on March 25 at the age of 77. Based on his early departure from NY, he may have contracted the deadly virus in Trinidad & Tobago.
He beat the iron in the rhythm section of several steelband orchestras in Brooklyn as they rehearsed for Brooklyn’s panorama at the Brooklyn Museum grounds every Labor Day weekend and added “riddim” in most soca/calypso parties and concerts.
A diehard fan of calypso, steelpan, carnival and other events that promoted the culture of Trinidad & Tobago, “Hanny” was a regular or “limer” at Sesame Flyers, the popular cultural and educational organization on Church Ave., Brooklyn. He attended calypso tents and shows presented by EVERYBODY’S Magazine.