Hansel “Hanny” Leon Remembered
by Garvin Blake
Ironman/percussionist Hansel “Hanny” Leon with Pan Evolution Steel Orchestra in 2019
Ironman/percussionist Hansel “Hanny” Leon with Hearts of Steel during New York J’Ouvert
New York, USA - When Hansel “Hanny” Leon passed on March 25, 2020, Brooklyn lost a beat. He was the most tireless ironman I have ever heard. Hanny played his iron, a piece of metal that’s central to Trinidad’s music, anywhere, everywhere.
His gift for playing complex rhythms, with precise timing, made him the life of a Flagwoman bus ride, a Hawks boat ride or any party. Hanny also had the discipline to perform with large steelbands like Cavaliers, Sonatas, Fonclaire and Pan Evolution, providing support and adding color to their music.
In the last decade, Hanny could be heard playing tenor pan with Hearts of Steel. He never missed an opportunity to share his culture. I admired Hanny’s approach to music. He played brave, with a Trinidadian swagger.
My walk down Flatbush Avenue will have a different cadence, knowing I won’t run in to Hanny, sharing a warm greeting and a big hug.
Rest in Peace my Brother.
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