London, UK – The tragic death on Saturday 19th January of Andy Palacio, the much-loved Garifuna musician from Belize, has made it appropriate for some of the organizers to reveal that he is the winner of the Americas category in the 2008 BBC Radio 3 Awards For World Music.
Although decided by the jury in December, the official announcement of all the winners was not due to be made by the BBC until 10th April.
This announcement was made specifically by the partners of BBC Radio 3 in the Awards venture, due to their respect and love for the artist and their desire to assure that this final accomplishment entered the official record for the tributes, and, equally, in time for Andy’s memorial and funeral in Belize. BBC Radio 3 itself did not agree with this course of action, so after much discussion and the unanimity of all partners and affiliates who responded during the two days of deliberation and before the deadline, they took the decision to announce the news independently.
"On behalf of the partners, I would view this extraordinary action as one more sign of the impact Andy Palacio had on all who knew him and who were moved by his music and his mission for his beloved Garifuna," said one of the partners, WOMEX director Gerald Seligman. When this is heard at his State funeral in Belize on Friday, his people will know that this Garífuna musician, with his marginalized indigenous culture, had been chosen as the best artist of all the Americas.BBC Radio 3 presenter Lucy Duran, who is to broadcast a tribute to Andy Palacio this coming Saturday, has commented: "The news of Andy Palacio‘s untimely death has been an absolute shock. It seems impossible that Andy has gone. He was young, healthy, dynamic, at his prime. And such a loss to so many people around the world, at the very moment when he was truly set to become an international star – with the incredible success of the album Watina – such a loss to his own people, the Garífuna, for whom he was such an articulate and charismatic spokesman.
Such a personal loss to Ivan Duran – fellow Belizean musician and music producer, who worked tirelessly for so many years with Andy on making Garifuna music better known, culminating in Watina, which has an anthemic quality to it and has been for many in the world music industry the best album of 2007. This is quite simply heartbreaking news."
Many in the world music community were moved by Andy Palacio‘s acceptance speech on receiving the 2007 WOMEX Award, in which he stated: "I see this award not so much as a personal endorsement but in fact as an extraordinary and sincere validation of a concept in which artists such as myself take up the challenge to make music with a higher purpose that goes beyond simple entertainment. I accept this award on behalf of my fellow artists from all over the world with the hope that it will serve to reinforce those sentiments that fuel cultures of resistance and pride in one’s own."