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Nov 3, 2014

Legendary Parandero Laid to Rest

On Saturday, in Punta Gorda, the man dubbed the King of Paranda was laid to rest at the age of eighty-six. Paul Nabor’s send-off was spectacular, and aside from the pomp and ceremony of an official funeral, included a concert held by his friends and musical colleagues, who said their goodbyes and celebrated his life with song. It was a weekend filled with passion, symbolism and an immense outpouring of the rich, vibrant Garifuna culture. News Five was there for the weekend and we have extensive coverage. We start with the official funeral held at St. Peter Claver Church in Punta Gorda Town. Mike Rudon was there and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Paul Nabor, known as Alfonso Palacio in a former life,  was laid to rest as he had lived his life – humbly, surrounded by loved ones, with passion and with song. His send-off was testimony to the impact he made on his people and his country, befitting the esteem in which this musical legend was held. Some persons travelled from far to say goodbye, but probably just as he would have wished it, the majority of those in the church Saturday morning were family, friends, and those from the community who knew and loved him. Nabi, the man and the musician, was much loved and respected.


Yasser Musa

Yasser Musa, Artist

“Your voice is a drought and a deluge. It is African, Amerindian, Garifuna and Belizean…it is a cry of anguish, a sultry, seductive lovemaking under thatched moon. Nabi, in the twilight you took to the world stage, educating younger artists. In the pedagogy of proceeding, you didn’t need to go. You did it for them, always willing to help, showing that art is not about glory, but about how to live.”


Robert Mariano

Robert Mariano, President, National Garifuna Council

“Thank you for your contribution in keeping Garifuna culture alive all over the world. Like a great actor, you have made your last stage performance. You have given your last act and now you have taken the backstage for the curtain to be drawn one last time. May Joseph Chatoyer, Alejo Beni, Thomas Vincent Ramos, Pablo Lambey, Gabaga, Junior Aranda, Mr. Cookie and also Andy Palacio and all the ancestors come to meet you in the glory of the Almighty.”


Paul Nabor will be remembered by the nation as the King of Paranda, a title to which he held undisputed claim in his later years. Music was a part of his everyday life and he was rarely without his guitar, but in his lifetime he only recorded ten songs. Aside from Paul Nabor the musical artist, there was Nabor the man – a sawmill worker, chiclero, fisherman and buyei, fruit company worker, songwriter and father to his only child, Monica Marie Martinez.


Monica Marie Martinez, Daughter of Paul Nabor

Monica Marie Martinez

“He always told me – daughter, I have to do good things for people in order for you to have good things in your life. God will bless you daughter, abundantly, because you were not a child that gave me and my sisters who raised you problems. If you are a problem now, you’re on your own. But when you were growing up you were a good child. And that is nice to hear and keep in your memory from a father that is so loving, caring and giving. When he didn’t have it to give it to me, his sisters did, and I thank each and every one of them because they taught me love.”


Nabor’s life was celebrated in church through song, the passionate rhythms which were so much a part of his life. And the man he considered a son said goodbye with the words of the song made famous by Nabor himself.


{Song by Aurelio Martinez…}


As much as the funeral was a celebration of his life, the grief of his passing lay heavy on the shoulders of those who loved him – his family and close friends – and perhaps especially on the shoulders of his only daughter, who honoured her father one last time.


{Song by Daughter, Monica Marie Martinez…}


The ceremony lasted a full two hours before the body of the legendary parandero was led to his final resting place, escorted by the B.D.F. guard and the rhythmic voices of his Garifuna people. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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