Andy Palacio

Andy Palacio

Andy Palacio was not only the most popular musician in Belize, he was also a serious music and cultural archivist with a deep commitment to preserving his unique Garifuna culture. Long a leading proponent of Garifuna popular music and a tireless advocate for the maintenance of the Garifuna language and traditions, Palacio undertook a new and ambitious direction with the formation of the Garifuna Collective and release of what would be his final recording, Watina, following his tragic and untimely death in 2008.

A few years ago, Belizean producer Ivan Duran, Palacio’'s longtime collaborator and founder of the local label Stonetree Records, convinced Palacio that he should focus on less commercial forms of Garifuna music and look more deeply into its soul and roots. Duran and Palacio set out to create an all-star, multi-generational ensemble of some of the best Garifuna musicians from Guatemala, Honduras and Belize. The Collective unites elder statesmen such as legendary Garifuna composer Paul Nabor, with up-and-coming voices of the new generation such as Aurelio Martinez from Honduras. Rather then focusing on danceable styles like punta rock, the Collective explores the more soulful side of Garifuna music, such as the Latin-influenced paranda, and the sacred dügü, punta and gunjei rhythms.