If You Belize

By Kate Kilpatrick
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 20, 2009

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What are the major differences between Garifuna culture and the surrounding Latino cultures?
"The differences are all huge, starting from the language which is very unique and has nothing to do with Spanish or English. Garifuna is an indigenous Caribbean language that came from Arawak and Carib Indians, with a few borrowed words from African dialect and the Spanish and French.

"The communal way of life is very, very different from the neighboring Latin people. The music, the dance, the traditions, their food are very different as well.

"[And] the history is completely different, I think it's very remarkable that 200-plus years later the Garifuna culture still exists--strong--surrounded by other majority groups in each country where they live--in the case of Belize the Mayans and Creoles."

The tribute concert has been getting great reviews. Any performers you want to spotlight?
"Aurelio Martinez is kind of the main front person right now. He's an extremely talented young artist from Honduras. And also the two women--Sofia and Silvia Blanco--are pretty amazing and they will be performing material from their latest album Umalali which I just got word this morning reached No. 1 on the CMJ charts. And I think that's the first time a Garifuna album ever got to that spot. So this is totally unexpected for them. This is something they never imagined would happen in their lives. They're not professional singers, they have no intention of becoming professional singers or touring artists and I'm sure they're having a lot of fun now."

Andy Palacio Tribute Concert
Fri., May 2, 8pm. $25-40. With Garifuna Collective, Umalali, Aurelio Martinez, Lloyd Augustine, Paul Nabor + more. Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. 215.898.3900. www.pennpresents.org

"W�tina (I Called Out)"

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