The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, paid tribute today to the Belizean singer and musician Andy Palacio, UNESCO Artist for Peace, who passed away last Saturday in Belize City.
“I wish to pay tribute to Andy Palacio, an exceptional musician and supporter of UNESCO’s ideals as Artist for Peace,” the Director-General declared. And he continued: “Andy Palacio choose to sing in Garifuna, a language at the crossroads of several linguistic legacies which was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001. He thus worked for intangible heritage which is particularly dear to us. His premature death is an immense loss for Belizean culture and for all those who are open to the diversity of the world’s music.” He added: “UNESCO’s large family of Artists for Peace looses one of its members who since October 2007 had put his talent and reputation at the service of our Organization.”
Born in 1960 in the coastal village of Barranco (Belize), Andy Palacio rose to fame at home and abroad as one of the masters of Punta Rock, a style of music with Garifuna roots. Cultural Ambassador of Belize, Andy Palacio was also Deputy Administrator of the National Institute of Culture and History.