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Sep 9, 2005

Belizean artists defend musical territory

Story PictureWith the September celebrations in full swing, many of us are looking forward to attending musical concerts. One such performance, The Belize Sound Fest, is scheduled for Saturday night. But at least one of the organisers says September no longer belongs to local artists and for some reason the business community seems to prefer to sponsor foreign imports over Belizean talent. Tony Wright, Public Relations Officer for the Association of Belizean Artists First, says local entertainers are trying to hold their ground, but it’s not easy.

Tony Wright, Association for Belizean Artists First
“We notice over the years that for some reason we have been losing our traditions. We notice this year for instance we have been bushwhacked or bombarded by foreign artists coming in. We have no problem with the foreign artists coming in, we have always said that, but we believe that the September celebrations should belong to the Belizean artists. I don’t know how Miss Lela feel about that, but I believe we have enough artists in Belize for the whole celebrations, if we were to get the kind of attention and treatment they give to the foreign artists, the business and different thing. When the Belizean artists go to them for support, they cry all kinda crocodile tears, but as soon as the foreign artists come, you could look pan some of the posters, you see all kinda name from Belize businesses. And the thing is, we are the same people who support these businesses. We buy at these places; they should give back something to the Belizean artists.”

One artist who wants to give back to Belize is Lela Vernon. The woman famous for promoting Kriol culture is now also branching out into Latin beats. She is one of the performers at this year’s Belize Sound Fest.

Lela Vernon, Recording Artist
“Balahu means you really having a fine time and you’re laughing loud and you know, carefree. So that?s why I give the CD the name “Balahu”. Because it?s very festive and I have several tracks that are very lively, you know, especially for when we are having parties and things like that. I have done Latin, I have two Latin pieces to complement the CD because I am a very diverse person, and I believe in diversity because we have an audience that is very wide and the Hispanic community are appreciating my kind of music.”

Tony Wright
“Last year she was there just to receive an award that the association thought was necessary to give her, for her contribution to Belizean arts and music. But after we saw her performance last year we just had to get her to perform this year for the audience. Then it was just right because Miss Lela is releasing her new brand album with this “Balahu” business. This yah thing yah soh dah like hib ah long sho, or worse than hib ah long sho. So the people just need to come out to see Miss Lela, the movements on this yah one, this yah time. It worse than the last time she mi do, it nevah so easy at all.”

Other performers at the Sound Fest include: Lord Rhaburn, Mr. Peters, Chico Ramos, Maurice Banner, Lucio Enriquez, Shirley Ferguson, Adele Ramos, Mohobub Flores, Country and Western Stars, Ezy-B and Dancers. Featured bands are: The Messengers, Kenny G and the New Creation Band, Talla Walla Band, Jah Rockers, Lucio and the New Generation. Special Awards will go to Jenny Lovell, Mohobub, and Cleveland Berry. The show starts at eighty-thirty Saturday night at the Belize City Centre.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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