As many of you know, Belizean musician and cultural ambassador Andy Palacio passed away suddenly on January 19th. The loss of such a wonderful individual and talent is truly heartbreaking, and all of us who knew Andy have been mourning his untimely death.
Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective had been gearing up for a great deal of touring in 2008, and Andy was looking forward to being accompanied by women from the Umalali project whose album will be released in March. After talking it over with the members of the Collective and Umalali, as well as with the venues that were planning to present the shows, all of us have agreed that the best tribute to Andy’s memory will be to continue with and even expand the touring plans for 2008. As a tireless advocate for Garifuna music and culture, we know that Andy would have wanted us to keep Garifuna music in the international spotlight and demonstrate to the world the depth of talent that exists in the Garifuna community.
Indeed, the Garifuna Collective includes a number of exceptional artists who represent the depth of Garifuna musical expression. The album Wátina featured many of these talents, and we have invited some of them to join the tour and offer up their voices in celebration of Andy’s memory and his broader mission of bringing Garifuna music to the world. The tour will feature Aurelio Martinez, an amazing young singer from Honduras whose album Garifuna Soul was highly praised in the world music press, Adrian Martinez, who sang and composed the moving song “Baba” from the Watina album and who is a rising young star at home in Belize, and Lloyd Augustine, one of Belize’s most popular young musicians. Like Andy in his youth, Lloyd is a punta rocker and parandero supreme, and he is blessed with an amazing voice and stage presence. In addition, three women from the Umalali project will be participating in the tour.
We are certain that this lineup will produce a concert experience that will be truly moving and memorable.
Also, we would like to announce that the Garifuna Collective has established the Andy Palacio Garifuna Music Education Fund to continue Andy's mission in bringing Garifuna music to the next generation of Belizeans. This fund will be used to provide instruments, classes and training workshops for young Garifuna musicians. Please make a donation at http://www.stonetreerecords.com.
In the Garifuna community, the death of a loved one is an opportunity to celebrate their life with music and dance. Please spread the word and join us as we commemorate the life and mission of Andy Palacio with these special concerts in memory of this beloved icon of Garifuna music and culture.