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Jun 8, 2018

Garifuna Collective Represent Belize at WOMEX Celebration

The Garifuna Collective is making a huge comeback at WOMEX, that’s the World’s Music Expo held in Spain. Back in 2007, Andy Palacio won the prestigious award.  Well this year, the Collective presented new music and cultural rhythms and has been selected to perform at the WOMEX Showcase to be held at Grand Canary Islands, Spain in a few months. The exciting piece of news has been communicated to the band, which is now on a fundraising drive. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Garifuna Collective, a band of highly skilled musicians and singers, famous the world over for touring extensively in the furtherance of Belizean culture, has been tapped once again to represent the Jewel on the international stage.  They are headed to the annual World Music Expo, WOMEX, showcase, a global platform and professional marketplace for world music of every kind.



Shyne, Musical Ambassador

“Belize has been a presence at WOMEX for quite some time now since 2007 when Andy Palacio performed.  But this year, I think, will be the year of Belize.”


Consisting of the best performers on the vibrant Garifuna music scene, the ensemble carries on the legacy of Andy Palacio who graced the world stage eleven years ago in Seville, Spain.  This time, Al and the group are off to the Grand Canary Islands after being selected.


Al Obando

Al Obando, Road Manager, Garifuna Collective

“The Garifuna Collective, with this achievement, just proves that the world is still yearning for original music and it just so happens that Garifuna music from Belize got selected.  From since 2007, the Garifuna Collective has been submitting every year for the last ten years.  Last year we reached the shortlist and no other country backed out so nothing happened.  This year, we re-energized the entry with new material, new songs, new rhythms weh Belize noh hyah yet, weh even some ah di band members only hyah some ah it.  So we gaan through it and send it.  We believe eena it and it so happened that this information came back and this request and the condition came that we got selected for the WOMEX Showcase 2018 to be held in the La Grand Canary Islands, off the coast of Spain.”


Mohobub Flores, well-known for local and regional hits, including Ital Food and Yamadi, is joining the Garifuna Collective on its dates in Spain.


Mohobub Flores

Mohobub Flores, Garifuna Artist

“We feel so good, so we wahn ker dis message out da WOMEX and we gwein go work and showcase wihself and present fu we self as Belizean and bring it back home to the Belizean people, to the whole Diaspora of Belizeans.”


Easily the most striking voice on any of their songs is Desiree Diego’s.  Hers is an inimitable tone that echoes with the trial and triumphs of past experiences.


Desiree Diego

Desiree Diego, Singer, Garifuna Collective

“I am extremely happy.  A lot of hard work, sleepless nights, but everything puts you where you want to be as long as you have the passion for it.”


Getting selected, however, is only the beginning of this forthcoming journey.  To arrive in Spain come early October will require a serious public campaign to raise as much as thirty-six thousand U.S. dollars, airfare included.


Al Obando

“We know we have to ask the Belizean [people] the country of Belize, we have to ask private businesses, the government and ourselves.  So we have a plan already and after this we’ll be sitting down with Shyne and going through each phase.  The way it works is that the first thing you want to do is secure the tickets for the band, and then you have like visas which da wahn crazy endeavor.  Just getting the visas to go to Europe; we’re going to Spain, so the country in charge is Guatemala. As I said, we have a plan, we have a budget and we have all hopes and we are confident that we could pull it off.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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