Highlights — 01 October 2013 — by Kareem Clarke
Cultural ambassadors on international tour of Europe

The Garifuna Collective continue to make unprecedented strides in the promotion of Belizean cultural music in all corners of the globe. This summer, the group toured the US and Canada in support of their new album, and now, after launching the album locally, they are slated to promote the album overseas again, this time in Europe.

During their North American tour, they participated in 38 festivals in over 25 cities in the US and Canada. The group of artists, made up of vocalists, percussionists and drummers, released their second album, entitled Ayo, in July of this year. Ayo, which when translated means “Goodbye”, is a tribute to Belizean legend, Andy Palacio.

According to producer Ivan Duran, the album has been getting great reviews, and is currently at number two on the world music charts in Europe.

Joshua Arana, one of the Garifuna Collective’s drummers, told Amandala that it is always a pleasure to enlighten the other parts of the world about “our [the Garifuna] music and our way of life.” He said that the group is thankful for the support that they have gotten, and stated that he encourages everyone to offer their support to the Garifuna Collective in whichever way they can, whether by buying the album or by following the tour via social media, because they are going out there to endorse not just Garifuna music, but Belizean music and culture on a whole.

Al Ovando, bass player and road manager for the Garifuna Collective, said that their objective will be to promote the album in Europe. He told us that they will be visiting London, England; Warsaw, Poland; Brussels, Belgium; Prague, Czech Republic; Paris, France; Bern, Switzerland; and Utrecht, Netherlands over a period of two weeks.

The mission of the Garifuna Collective is to keep the Garifuna culture and music alive to the best of their ability, in line with the ambition of the late Andy Palacio, one of the group’s original members.

According to reviews, the “magical album” filled with songs of “heartbreak, hope and joy” is rated highly by music lovers worldwide.

A feature of the group’s trip to Europe will be their new video release for the song “Ubou”, which is featured on the Ayo album, and which, when translated, means “World.”

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