The Odyssey



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Andy Palacio
Andy Palacio(artist: Andy Pah-lah-see-oh, song: Nah-bee) is the most popular artist in Belize, a Central American country that shares a closer cultural relation to the Caribbean islands than its nearest neighbor, Guatemala. Palacio is part of the fascinating Garifuna, or Black Carib culture. African slaves who were shipwrecked on the island of St. Vincent three centuries ago intermingled with the local indigenous Carib tribe resulting in a unique blend of African and Indian culture. In 1795 the Garifuna people rebelled against the British and the Crown punished them for their insolence by deporting them to the island of Roatán, off Honduras. In the years that followed, the Garifuna slowly established villages on islands and along the coasts of southern Belize, Guatemala and northern Honduras. The Garifuna speak a unique language that blends the Carib Indian and African tongues and their music also reflects elements of each culture.

Andy Palacio has long been active in preserving and promoting Garifuna culture. Largely a self-taught musician, Palacio grew up influenced by the popular music he heard from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. With a strong commitment to his own culture, Palacio focused on developing and popularizing punta rock, a musical style that had its roots in the punta rhythm of the Garifuna culture. Since he began his performing career in 1988, Andy Palacio has become a household name in Belize, and is the undisputed ambassador for Belizean culture, having entertained audiences in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the USA and Europe.

Related Dispatch
The Garfuna life in Livingston - Selling jewelry made of coconut shells

We're jamming, with the Gaifuna people
Relive it here!

"Nabi" was written by legendary Garifuna composer Paul "Nabor" Santino and reflects on a time when the auther, nicknamed Nabi, returned from a trip to Guatemala with a serious illness. He comments that it was faith in the power of his ancestors that helped him to heal. The song is a paranda, a style traditionally performed with acoustic guitars and Garifuna drums and is sung in the Garifuna language.

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This information and world music sample are compliments of Putumayo World Music. Putumayo’s mission is to introduce people to other cultures through music, and towards this end they have released dozens of CDs and cassettes featuring some of the best music from around the world.

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