My sound technicians at Studio 4 weren’t thrilled that I was obliging them to squeeze 7 musicians into the space that accommodates a maximum of 4. “We won’t be able to get everybody in the shot” they kept saying, shaking their heads. But this band from Belize, Central America insisted they needed everybody to sound complete. On July 8th a van-full of 7 musicians known as The Garifuna Collective rolled up and unloaded into our tiny VOA studio.
The Garifuna Collective are on tour in the US promoting their second CD Ayo, a dedication to the original leader of the group and icon of Belizean music, Andy Palacio. He died on January 19, 2008. The group’s music is unique to the world for its beautiful blend of West African and Arawak Indian traditions that is also infused with additional Spanish and English influences. The link to Andy Palacio (above) provides a nice background to The Garifuna Collective.
My featured interview from July 8th gets us right up to speed on The Garifuna Collective since it regrouped following Andy’s death. The first half of the interview is a mini concert, including band members’ self introductions and explanations of the 3 songs, “Weyu Larigi Weyu,” “Mangulu” and “Ayo.” Listen out for the turtle shell percussion, segundo (bass,) and primero (tenor) drums.
The second half of the interview is a conversation between Desiree Dego (vocals, shaker,) Lloyd Agustine (guitar, vocals,) Joshua Arana (Garifuna segundo drum,vocals) and myself. They talk about their music, of course, their hopes for this tour and beyond, and close out with thoughts on their West Africa connection.