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Apr 11, 2005

Music Week features performances, workshops

Story PictureMusic: life wouldn’t be worth living without it. And in recognition of that fact, the next seven days are being celebrated in Belize as Music Week. The calendar of events has been organized by MIAB, the Music Industry Association of Belize. MIAB President Ivan Duran explained what the week is all about.

Ivan Duran, President, MIAB
?Music Week is perhaps the first attempt by the music industry in Belize to bring together several ideas that we?ve had in the past, like having a series of well-produced concerts, conferences, panel discussions to deal with the issues affecting the industry in Belize. We are celebrating because this opportunity I think will bring musicians together during this week and hopefully we will learn from each other, and hopefully up and coming artists will have a lot to learn from the panellists and the discussions that we will have during Music Week.?

?We see from MIAB?s perspectives, we see that the main problem with music in Belize is that musicians are not being encouraged to be original and are not being encouraged to produce and create music. The music market all over the world is in big problems these days, piracy being the main issue. That affects us in Belize also, and I think where you have a situation where an artist can produce an album and just sell a few copies, it?s quite discouraging. So that?s one of the issues that we?re looking at during Music Week. But also, if the quality of those recordings improve, where they are marketable outside of Belize, then there are other opportunities for our local artists. And that?s what we also need to explore because we know that Belizean artists cannot only survive with the local market.?

For cultural Ambassador and well known musician, Andy Palacio, the key issue for Belizean artists is successful marketing.

Andy Palacio, Cultural Ambassador, NICH
?Belize has great potential, our music is recognized, we?ve been told by the world that we have good things going for us. But budgets–and largely it is a financial issue that prevents Belize from being able to market the musical product as effectively as the music that is coming to us from foreign markets. In the case of Jamaica and the leading Jamaican artists, we can see that there has been a successful marriage between talent and business, while we in Belize have yet to make that connection in a serious way.?

One man whose business it is to make those connections is Gerald Seligman. Seligman, who has run major labels and produced for dozens of artists, says that for small countries teamwork is the only hope for success.

Gerald Seligman, Intl. Producer/Consultant
?I think increasingly in the music industry as such, there really are two different realities. One is the reality of the major companies EMI and Sony and Universal and all those, and then there is the reality of everybody else. And everybody else is increasingly seeing that the only way to survive in this kind of really rough moment we?re living in with the music in general in the music industry is by banding together. And throughout the world this is happening on a larger and larger scale where people are realising as smaller labels, as independent artists, that they?re going to benefit a lot more from working together, not only as competitors–which is a certainly inevitable to a certain degree–but also as people with a common goal and common needs and in the sense that notion of all boats rising with the tide. So this week is a very important step in that process of people realising that we have more to gain by working together and figuring out what our obstacles are and how to overcome them together than we do by working apart.?

Seminars and workshops will be held all week beginning Tuesday morning. Concerts include the Orquesta de la Papaya on Thursday and Friday nights, the Paranda Legends on Saturday night, and Belizean Reggae Vibes on Sunday night. Please check advertisements for times and venues.

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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