The death of singer Andy Palacia has deprived members of his band Garifuna Collective in the power to continue. Replacing the irreplaceable is not easy.
ABAN is the new album from Belize’s The Garifuna Collective, their first release since their critically-acclaimed tribute to Andy Palacio in 2014 (Ayo, 2014 Stonetree). ABAN’s title translates as “ONE” from the Garifuna language, and reflects the spirit of unity and self-sufficiency that has kept this Afro-Indigenous people, language and culture alive and fighting in the Caribbean and Central America for over 300 years.
Members of The Garifuna Collective have been making music together for more than 20 years and this album reflects the deep bond between them.
In recent years, the band has been experimenting with new Garifuna rhythms, recording concepts, and even some “organic electronic” music and dub techniques. ABAN breaks loose to redefine Garifuna music for a new generation, while maintaining strong roots to traditional concepts and identity.
ABAN brings different traditional rhythms to the forefront – such as Wanaragua and the semi-sacred Hüngü-Hüngü and creatively juxtaposes them with new melodies from the deep well of Garifuna song.
The results are fresh and adventurous; proof that the Garifuna Collective is still at the vanguard of the long journey to bring the Garifuna’s soulful and vibrant music to the world.
The Garifuna Collective has performed in over 30 countries in 5 continents and has been part of the most celebrated Garifuna albums of all time, including the critically acclaimed Wátina, recipient of the Womex and BBC World Music Award and voted by Amazon as the Number One World Music Album of All Time.
They are a seasoned collective of musicians from across different generations, with a dynamic that comes from playing and traveling the world together, sharing their music and stories with global audiences. Their performances spark the history and soul of Garifuna culture into vivid life. While their recordings dip into the massive well of Garifuna songs to create new compositions – some of the singers in the band know hundreds of songs!
The group has maintained its strength despite incredible adversity but the history of the Garifuna people is one of struggle.
The Collective take their place in a long line of ancestors, maintaining and growing the Garifuna cultural identity, in a conversation among generations and traditions. The Garifuna people, also known as Garinagu, are descendants of Afro-indigenous people from the Caribbean island of St Vincent who were exiled to Central America by the British in the 18th century.
Garifuna culture was forged when slave ships carrying captured Africans wrecked off the coast of St Vincent in the 1600s. The survivors swam ashore, mixed with the island’s indigenous Arawak population and created a unique, resilient culture of free people that resisted European colonial powers for over 100 years.
Their defiant culture persists to this day, in communities in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua, where their distinctive language, customs and music are preserved and continue to evolve.
NMR (photo: press Garifuna Collective)