It’s Bank Holiday weekend and we’re in Bognor Regis visiting mia suocera. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at West Dean, former home of the poet and patron of the surrealist movement, Edward James. The gardens were fabulous, and will be even more so in a few weeks time. Today we’ve a pub lunch planned and a walk along the sea front. It’s what Bank Holidays are made for!
Today’s music is the title track from the much acclaimed 2007 album Wátina by Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective. I heard many of the songs on the radio in 2007 and 2008 and whilst I enjoyed the music it did not seem to have the elusive element that lifts an album from good to great. Despite this, I bought the album a month or so ago and closer listening has caused me to revise my original opinion.
What I hadn’t realised was that the album really was the work of a “Collective” and that Palacio was more a leader of the album than a front man. Palacio was originally a teacher but embraced the burgeoning Garifuna pride movement (The Garinagu (singular: Garifuna) are an ethnic group of mixed ancestry who live primarily along the Caribbean Coast in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras).
In 2004, Andy Palacio was appointed Belizean Cultural Ambassador and Deputy Administrator of the National Institute of Culture and History and devoted himself to the preservation of Garifuna music and culture.
In 2007, Palacio’s work with the Garifuna All-Stars project led up to the release of Wátina. The album features a multi-generational crew of Garifuna musicians from Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras (including octogenarian singer Paul Nabor) and delves deeply into traditional Garifuna rhythms and songs.
Thanks to Wátina, Palacio was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace, won the prestigious WOMEX Award in 2007 and was posthumously awarded the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music award in the Americas Category in 2008.