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Nov 7, 2002

Garifuna All Stars return from Europe

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When they left for Europe last month, the group of local artists and promoters went with high hopes for raising the profile of Belizean music on the international scene. Now that they’ve returned, they’re saying: job done. News 5′s Janelle Chanona reports.

Janelle Chanona

In October Andy Palacio, Paul Nabor and the other members of the Garifuna All Star Band became the first Central American band to perform at the World Music Expo (WOMEX) held in Essen, Germany.

The Belizeans were handpicked from a pool of five hundred artists from throughout the world. Band members say their performance was a highlight of the show.

Andy Palacio, Garifuna All Star Band

“We generated a lot of attention. A lot of people were passing by the Belize booth the following day asking questions about our music. What it would cost to book us for their festivals, would be available in the summer months of 2003 and so on. So there’s a lot in the pipeline about to happen as a result.”

According to band leader Andy Palacio, the festival appearance has created a new outlet for Belizean albums and artists.

Andy Palacio

“I think the interest that we’ve generated will benefit not only Andy Palacio and the Garifuna All Star Band, but other Belizean musicians as well. The potential is there questions to be asked regarding what else is there in Belize by way of music live and recorded. And to the extent that Belize might be receiving visitors who are here simply to scout Belizean talent to sign up people for contracts for recording or performing in other countries.”

Palacio says they are in discussions with festival organizers from countries like Canada, Belgium and Hungary about possible concert dates next summer. Reporting for News 5, I am Janelle Chanona.

Funding for the trip to WOMEX was provided by the Ministry of Budget Management, Social Security Board, BELTRAIDE, Hivos and Stonetree Records.

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