Julio Zelaya is one of the most important contemporary composers in Central America. He plays original compositions using the unique Honduran garifuna rhythms and exposes them to the musical complexities of other African rooted music such as jazz, Caribbean, Brazilian and world.
Having lived a good part of his life in North America (Canada and the United States), he has been able to assimilate the main elements of American music from pop to jazz and has found his very own musical identity as he puts together all this background with his own Latin, Spanish and African roots.
Some of his compositions have been taken as a international symbol of the Honduras Caribbean on cable tv. and his music sounds in Central America, North America as well as in Europe.
Most of the songs of his CDs have been inspired by real experiences in the Honduran Caribbean ocean (mostly the Bay Islands: Roatan, Utila and Guanaja). The magic of singing mermaids , the dance of the dolphins, a delightful swim inside the coral reefs or a Bay Islands sunset. The work also describes a certain kind of nostalgia of the Garifuna people for their mother land Africa and in some songs you can hear the real jamming Garifunas do when they get together to celebrate the different events of life or death according to their tradition.
Aban from Belize-based The Garifuna Collective is the Transglobal World Music Chart’s number one album in November 2019.
The Garifuna Collective has performed in over 30 countries on five continents and has been part of the some of the most celebrated Belizean Garifuna albums of all time, including the critically acclaimed Wátina.
The ensemble includes seasoned musicians from across different generations.
The Garifuna Collective – ABAN (Stonetree Records, 2019)
The Garifuna Collective delivers an album where Garifuna musical traditions are combined with modern musical forms such as dub and subtle cutting edge electronics. The irresistible songs feature call and response choruses, delightful electric guitars and hip-shaking rhythms.
The recording features musicians from Belize and Honduras, representing different generations. The lineup includes Marcela Aranda on vocals; Desiree Diego on vocals and maracas; Mohobub Flores on vocals and turtle shells; Sheldon Petillo on vocals; Emilio Thomas on vocals; Rolando “Chichiman” Sosa on vocals and percussion; Denmark Flores on Garifuna drums; Sam Harris on electric guitar and vocals; Guayo Cedeño on electric guitar; Eli Levinson on sampling and programming; Iván Durán on electric and acoustic guitars, bass; and Al Ovando on electric guitar, bass, percussion, claps.
ABAN presents well-constructed, uplifting songs illustrating the new trends in Garifuna rooted music.
Garifuna is a unique culture based on the Caribbean coast of Central America (Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras) that blends elements of West African and Native Caribbean heritage.
The Garifuna people originated when two large Dutch ships, filled with a delivery of West African slaves, sunk off the coast of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent in 1635. Half of the Africans survived and intermingled with the indigenous Caribs of the region, creating a new hybrid culture.
Fiercely independent, the Garifuna community resisted French and British colonization, and were forcibly exiled to the Caribbean coast of Central America. Some were segregated and held onto their traditions and language, while others blended with the local predominant culture.
The Garifuna developed a unique culture that incorporates African traditions of music, dance, religious rites and ceremonies, Native American farming, hunting, and fishing techniques; and an African and Arawak influenced language.
Now living mainly along the Caribbean coast of the Central American countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, the Garifuna culture, recognized by UNESCO since March 2001 as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, displays many influences of its African heritage. This is evident when comparing their music with the indigenous music of the West African societies from which their ancestors originated.
The Garifuna style of music relies heavily on call and response patterns. These patterns are less overlapping than many traditional ones found in Africa, but nonetheless the Garifunas’ leader/chorus organization is very consistent with those of African styles. Garifuna music relies heavily on the drum, and in many instances their music is dictated by it.
The drums of the Garifuna are usually made of hardwoods that are uniformly shaped and carved out in the centers. The ends of the drums are covered with skins from the peccary, deer, or sheep. These drums are always played with the hands, and some drummers have been known to wrap metal wires around the drum heads to give them a snare-like sound. Some musicians accompany the drums with gourd shakers called sisira, and even instruments like the guitar, flute, and violin have been adopted from early French, English, and Spanish folk music, as well as Jamaican and Haitian Afro-Caribbean styles.
To the Garifuna, song and dances are an integral part of their culture. These song and dance styles display a wide range of subjects like work songs, social dances and ancestral traditions. A very popular dance style is called punta, which is usually performed at wakes, holidays and parties. This involves plenty of hip movements.
The Garifuna Collective, Belize’s acclaimed Afro-Indigenous roots music band will be touring Europe and North America in support of its new album, Aban, this summer. This will be its first major international tour since 2014.
Aban is set for worldwide release June 21st, 2019 on Belize’s Stonetree Records. The European part of The Garifuna Collective’s tour will begin on June 6th in the Netherlands, with stops at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, Norway’s Førde Festival, and YAAM Berlin.
The North American tour will begin on July 12th in Montana, with stops at the Calgary Folk Fest, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and New York City’s Summerstage.
The Garifuna Collective released its previous album, Ayo in 2016.
The Garifuna people are descendants of Afro-indigenous people from the Caribbean island of St Vincent who were exiled to Central America by the British in the 18th century.
The Garifuna Collective 2019 Tour Dates:
June 6 – Afro-Pfingsten, Winterthur, NL
June 7 – YAAM, Berlin, DE
June 8 – IMMF, Nijmegen, NL
June 15 – Ethno Port Festival, Poznan, PL
June 22 – Wales, UK (Venue TBA)
June 23 – Liverpool, UK (Venue TBA)
June 28 – Lent Festival, Maribor, SI
June 29 – Fusion Festival, Lärz, DE
July 5 – Roskilde Festival, DK
July 6 – Førde Festival, NO
July 7 – Afrika Festival, Hertme, NL
July 12 – Montana Folk Festival, Butte, MO
July 20 – Grassroots Festival, Trumansburg, NY
July 21 – Schenectady Central Park, Schenectady, NY
July 24 – Cleveland Music of Art, Cleveland, OH
July 25 – Calgary Folk Fest, Calgary, AB
August 2 – Summerstage, New York, NY
Aug 16 – Invermere Festival, BC
Aug 17 – Salmon Arm Festival, Salmon Arm, BC
Aug 22 – Portland, ME – TBA
Aug 23 – Bangor, ME – TBA
The Garifuna Collective from Belize and celebrated reggae
artist Horace Andy will headline the 27th annual Africa Oyé festival this
summer in the UK.
Africa Oyé will take place June 22 and 23, 2019 in Liverpool’s
Sefton Park. The festival celebrates the
music and culture of Africa and the Diaspora with two free days of live music,
DJ sets and multi-arts workshops.
Jamaican singer-songwriter Horace Andy is well-known as the sweetest voice in reggae and for his long association with British trip-hop forerunners, Massive Attack. Andy has become an persevering voice on the Jamaican music scene. His early 1970s hit, ‘Skylarking’ expressed his ability to deliver songs of Black determination and social commentary that topped the Jamaican charts.
Horace Andy has steadily recorded and performed around the
world in his own right with his band Dub Asante, and has remained famous in
roots reggae, rocksteady, lovers rock and dancehall.
Also announced for the 2019 festival is The Garifuna
Collective. The group has pushed the boundaries of Garifuna musical traditions.
The group went back to the studio last year ro record its new album Hamala (Let
Them Fly). It will The Garifuna Collective’s first record since the
highly-praised tribute album to fallen bandleader and cultural icon Andy
Palacio. The new album experiments with new Garifuna rhythms, recording
concepts and even some “organic electronic” music and dub techniques.
The two festival headliners join a line-up that already
includes BCUC, Moonlight Benjamin, Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda, Carlou D and
OSHUN, as well as Liverpool emerging stars Tabitha Jade and Satin Beige who
make up the ‘Oyé Introduces’ program.
Africa Oyé’s Artistic Director said: “It’ll be a real honor to welcome back The Garifuna Collective to headline Oyé in their own right after their amazing performance with the late, great Andy Palacio twelve years ago; their sound and energy is incredible. And Horace Andy is a reggae headliner we’ve always wanted to see on our stage and I just know he’ll close out the Saturday in perfect style.”
Percussionist and singer Mohobub Flores was born in Dandriga, cultural and musical capital of the Garifuna community of Belize and birthplace of Pen Cayetano, a musician and painter who founded the Turtle Shell Band in the 1980s and fused traditional Garifuna music to popularize what was called “punta rock.”
Mohobub started his career as a percussionist in 1979 and belongs to the generation responsible for projecting the music of this ethnic group onto the international scene.
Garifuna artist Delvin “Pen” Cayetano was born in 1954 in Dangriga, Belize. In the late 1970s, Pen Cayetano began to compose songs in the Garifuna language. He added the rhythm of the electric guitar to the traditional punta rhythm and created what is now known as punta-rock, the “rock” being the rhythm of the guitar.
Cayetano’s creation caught on quickly in Belize and from there spread to the other Central American countries.
The Garifuna All Star Band was a once in a lifetime collaboration of the biggest stars of Garifuna music, such as Andy Palacio and Paul Nabor from Belize. For the first time, these musicians from diverse backgrounds were assembled into a dynamic group to portray the vibrant aspects of traditional and modern Garifuna music and culture.
The Garifuna All Star Band performed a modern fusion of the punta, the highly danceable punta rock, as well as the intense semi-sacred Hungu-Hungu. Also in their music was the Latin bluesy parranda style.
Alfonso Palacio, better known as Paul Nabor, was born January 26, 1928 in Punta Gorda, Belize. He was a legend in Parranda songs accompanied by drumming, percussion and acoustic guitar, very much like the Caribbean Calypso. He was also a sort of spiritual leader with the voice of age and wisdom.
Though nominally Roman Catholic, many Garifuna practice African spiritual traditions. The dugu, honouring the Garinagu ancestors is the most important tradition, where feasting, music and dance go on for days.
Paul Nabor was also the last living Parrandero in Punta Gorda, a small coastal village in southern Belize. He woke up at five every morning to fish in the Caribbean, and in the evenings he served as religious leader at the old wooden Garifuna temple before his gigs at the local club, which often ran nearly into the next morning.
Paul Nabor died October 22, 2014 in Punta Gorda, Belize.
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