The Garifuna Women's Project: Umalali (Elite)

 |   |  <1 min read

The Garifuna Women's Project: Hattie
The Garifuna Women's Project: Umalali (Elite)

The sudden death in January of singer-songwriter Andy Palacio from Belize robbed the Garifuna movement of an important figurehead.

His album Watina took the distinctive music of the coastal people of north-east South America -- who speak Arawak, a native Indian language once found in Jamaica -- and put it into the pages of world music magazines.

The sound -- an amalgam of local country-folk, African rhythms, and the cultural cross-references inevitable when slaves fleeing the Caribbean encountered local Indian tribes -- reflects these small communites and the songs are full of storytelling and evocative of the balmy region.

Although Palacio may be gone the music finds life again on this wonderful album for which a young producer Ivan Duran gave up a decade of his life to research the music, make the contacts and finally gain the friendship of a number of women whom he gathered in the small town of Hopkins in Belize and recorded them in a small thatched hut on stilts at a beach.

Although this doesn't sound like a rough field recording (because he tinkered with the tapes back in his own studio) that environment means this album bursts to life with energy and is carried by the lively rhythms and the powerful voices. Duran seems to have added the guitar parts too (Afro-surf music) and that lifts the whole thing that extra level.

Worthy project and great music.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

ETRAN FINATAWA INTERVIEWED (2006): From sands to stadiums

ETRAN FINATAWA INTERVIEWED (2006): From sands to stadiums

Etran Finatawa have band members from two nomadic groups from around Niger, and play music which sounds like the raw electric blues from Chicago in the Fifties and Sixties. Their electrifying music... > Read more

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB in concert, review: Music, myth and marketing in Melbourne (2001)

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB in concert, review: Music, myth and marketing in Melbourne (2001)

The old man looks desperately frail, shuffling as if each step could be his last. But as he is helped the few metres from the wings of the stage to the piano, each faltering footfall is accompanied... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HANK GARLAND: The forgotten star of the six string

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HANK GARLAND: The forgotten star of the six string

When guitarist Hank Garland's '59 Chev station wagon spun out on a road in Tennessee and hammered into a tree in September 1961 it left him unconscious in hospital for weeks. And although he... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jayson Norris

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jayson Norris

Expat-Kiwi Jayson Norris has lived in London since 2004 and has, I am told, released two albums internationally before his Freedom Twenty Eight on New Zealand's Loop label -- which puts him in... > Read more