Garifuna Collective Is Wowing the World with Irresistible Music
Belize has long mesmerized the world with its natural beauty. Now, we’re dazzling the world with the irresistible rhythms of our music.
Recently, the Belize-based Garifuna Collective has been touring the world, bringing its gorgeous Garifuna melodies to audiences in over 30 countries. The group has performed at major folk festivals throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S.
Featured at Folk Festivals
The Garifuna Collective was a featured performer at the 2019 Montana Folk Festival, one of the biggest celebrations of traditional music in the world.
Anastasia Tsioulcas, music critic for National Public Radio, described their music as “an extraordinary blend that layers soulful, indigenous and African rhythms with sweet, lyrical melodies.”
Shaking Up the World with Music
The Garifuna Collective has been creating beautiful music in Belize for over a decade. The band consists of percussionists, vocalists and musicians who aim to preserve traditional Garifuna customs, language and culture.
In 2007, their album Watina shook the world. Reviewers compared it to Paul Simon’s iconic album Graceland. In 2008, Banning Eyre, senior editor of Afropop.org, named Watina the best world music album of the year.
The U.K. newspaper The Guardian listed it among their “50 Essential CDs From Around the World.”
In 2013, Amazon.com ranked Watina as one of the best world music albums of all time.
Who Is the Garifuna Collective?
Andy Palacio founded the Garifuna Collective in 2002. Palacio was a native of Belize who was deeply concerned that the traditional Garifuna culture of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras was dying.
The Garifuna culture is considered a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. Palacio devoted himself to preserving that culture by gathering the top Garifuna musicians in the region to create a musical group.
A Musical Legacy
He eventually joined forces with producer Ivan Duran, who helped the group grow professionally and musically.
Palacio died in 2008. The Garifuna Collective’s second album, Ayo, is a testament to his legacy.
Still Going Strong
The Garifuna Collective is still going strong. This year, they have charmed audiences at festivals in the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland and several other countries.
In an interview with Montana Public Radio, Duran said, “Now, it feels like the whole village is singing. That’s beautiful, because it’s a true reflection of what music means in the Garifuna community. It’s always a collective effort.”