Belize (or British Honduras as it was formerly known) was the last British colony in Central America and is currently celebrating its 30th year of independence from Britain.
Soul Jazz Records travelled to Dangriga, epicentre of Garifuna culture, on the Caribbean coast of Belize, to produce this new album with Black Carib singers, drummers and musicians.
The West African ancestry of the Black Caribs is a link to the other Afro-musics of the Caribbean and Latin America - the massive drum groups of the Samba Schools of Brazil, the Voodoo poly-rhythmical drums of Haiti, Afro-Cuban Salsa and the sacred Bata drums of Santeria, as well as the hypnotic rhythm of Nigeria’s Afro-Beat and other African musical forms.
The album features the many different styles of Black Carib (or Garifuna) music. The most famous and popular form is the punta, a dance style that was updated in the 1970s when local artists electrified the sound to create punta rock. The most successful groups - Pen Cayetano with the Original Turtle Shell Band, and more recently Andy Palacio – were the first artists to bring Garifuna music to a wider audience. Another artist, Aurelio Martinez, is currently doing the same thing for the Garifuna community in Honduras.
UNESCO has also recently proclaimed the music of the Black Caribs/Garifuna as one of the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
The super-deluxe hard-cased CD pack comes complete with extensive text about the culture and history of the Black Caribs of Belize, as well as exclusive photographs of the sessions alongside song annotation and translations. There is also a very limited (1000 copies worldwide) double-gatefold vinyl edition (heavyweight vinyl and sleeve with full sleevenotes).
"Recorded on the country’s coast, these evocative recordings give us Garifuna music at its purest, the stirring sacred chants and percussion testifying to the resilience of African traditions in the New World." The
"Finely packaged, veers away from commercial songs to concentrate on traditional styles, from lengthy, hypnotic passages of drumming and chanting to the call-and-response styles of dugu religious ceremonies." The Guardian
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