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Oct 27, 2017

Song Competition Boosts Garifuna Music

Darius Avila

The first ever Belize Garifuna Song Competition kicks off tonight at the Bird’s Isle.  From as many as seventeen entries, five musicians have made it to the finals and the winning song will be announced at tonight’s event.  The contest highlights five genres of Garifuna music and the criteria required each submission to be professionally recorded.  The idea, according to Darius Avila, President of the Battle of the Drums Secretariat, is to carry on the legacy of an esteemed class of Garifuna musicians that was led by Andy Palacio.

 

Darius Avila, President, Battle of the Drums Secretariat

“So the song competition is a competition where we received song entries from various artists, both amateur and professional where they are competing in five genres of Garifuna music; namely, hugunhugu, punta, paranda, punta rock and a combination.  We started receiving entries into the competition as of the fifteenth of September and continuing on to the twentieth of October.  Thereafter the judges started to judge and judging was completed yesterday which was the twenty-sixth of October.  Tonight we’re having the awards and concert where we’ll be announcing the winners and of course we’ll be showcasing some guest artists as part of the event.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of this being an initiative of the Battle of the Drums Secretariat, is it the first time you’re having a Garifuna Song Competition and depending on the outcome of tonight, what can we expect going forward?”

 

Darius Avila

“Yes.  Well this is the first ever Belize Garifuna Song Competition, that is the name we give it.  We can expect that this is, while it’s the first, it will be an annual event.  This is part and parcel of the Battle of the Drums Garifuna Cultural Retrieval and Preservation initiative.  Basically, at the Battle of the Drums we recognized that Andy Palacio left us with a rich legacy.  Along with Aurelio Martinez, Paul Nabor and the Garifuna Collective they raised the car to such high levels that our Belizean Garifuna music has been recognized internationally.  But since then, that was back in 2007, 2008, we haven’t seen a continuous move towards that international recognition, that quality production by our musicians and so we believe that if we put together a competition of this level then we could slowly assist our artists, our musicians to think big, create, innovate and eventually our music will go back to that high level of recognition.”

 

Tickets are on sale at the door for twenty dollars.

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