It can be considered a miracle if and how little more than 500 thousand souls have been able to safeguard and evolve such a rich and diverse tradition like Garifuna. In fact, despite enduring nearly a 400-year struggle, Garinagu people have protected their heritage and kept its uniqueness alive.
Garifuna culture is indeed unique, having combined its West African soul with Caribbean roots, but also adopting European (French, British and Spanish) and more recently North American influences. It is so unique it was proclaimed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001.
If today the songs and dances coming from the Atlantic Coast of Central America have reached a global dimension, spreading Garifuna tunes and moves far away from the Garifuna Diaspora Basin, the credit goes to the vitality of that sound. Garifuna music’s distinguishing feature is indeed rhythm, and its final purpose is to make people dance. For this reason, energetic drums and percussions stand at the core of the sound as much as uplifting vocal melodies.
However, styles like punta and paranda and their most recent versions like punta-rock, couldn’t have gained a place on the world music map without the contribution and work of cultural guides and promoters like Paul Nabor, Paula Castillo, Andy Palacio, Aurelio Martinez and Ivan Duran with his label Stonetree Records. During the last decades, they have become true cultural ambassadors spreading the heart-warming Garifuna sound all over the world.
Come and join us and hear Aurelio play at Rich Mix on the 1st of Feb 2017. Click here for tickets