Musicians, Artists and Engineers Register for 2015 Belize International Jazz Festival

The National Institute of Culture and History is adding yet another event to its yearly calendar…the Belize International Jazz Festival.  Over one hundred and sixty local and international artists and twelve engineers from across the country have registered so far with the festival and will be taking part in the annual event. The Belize International Jazz Festival will see a fusion of various styles with the unique genre of jazz and is expected to bolster cultural tourism. But there is also an educational aspect of the festival that will workshops held for participants to develop their skills in the art of playing and singing jazz. Today, the Institute of Creative Arts held a press launch and Artistic Director of the Festival, Carlos Perrote explained.

Carlos Perrote

Carlos Perrote, Artistic Director, Belize International Jazz Festival

“When we say about jazz, people think that it is straightforward jazz…no it is a combination of different types of genre. From Belize, we have Almost Seven and Ascenthium. They are not jazz bands, but if you remember, jazz is improvisation, jazz is create and the rock is one of the more close genre towards the jazz because they create and they improvise and then fusion displayed in their performance. Also for local band we have the Omolewa Osain; this project has five years of funding…they create their own form of music we call it “gubazz” it is Garifuna, Cubans, jazz. We also have the most prestigious band in Belize…it is called the Garifuna Collective internationally. We have also the Wolrd Cutlural Band from San Ignacio and also we have all the steel pan and drum orchestras of Belize—Pantempters, Pandemonium, Paneriffix, Grace Primary School and Paneriffix Junior. These steel bands are about sixty children, seven to twelve years old; so they will come together and play special item about jazz. That’s the most important thing. Internationally, we have nine bands. We have application for twenty. But the problem is that money is not there, so we have to try to limit thing because when we put on the website about the festival, a lot of people started to apply, but we really can’t afford some of the artists that want to come. But we have opened in the future so maybe we can bring them. But for now, we have special composure and singer and pianist—she is from Belize, but lives in London—Errolyn Wagner. She will be here with us. We also have two bands from Cuba; Morena Sound and Influential Jazz; they are one of the more younger jazz fusion group in Cuba.”

10 Days of Jazz Fusion Begins on June 5th

Gregory Vernon

The event will feature ten days of jazz fusion and will see the collaboration of local culture makers, business enterprises and globally renowned artists to promote the cultural and social love for the genre of music and its respective art. The event will be held from June fifth to the fourteenth and will travel to several municipalities across Belize.

Gregory Vernon, Director, ICA

“NICH felt it very fitting that we continue off the indigenous music festival that was held three years ago here in Belize and we are looking at once again bringing in international artists as well as local artists and also bringing to our country jazz enthusiasts that will be visiting with us and hoping that we’ll be able to get the hotels all filled with jazz fans that would want to come into the country. Our main goal this year are several festivals. In May we have the national festival of arts; in June we have the international jazz festival; we have the carnival launch in June. We have the Belize international film festival in July; we have the visiting Trinidad and Tobago youth orchestra in July; we have the national song competition elimination rounds in June-July. We have the national song competition finals in August as well as King and Queen, Jouvert and the Road March in September. And so this is a very packed year for us at the institute of creative arts.”

Richard “DJ Special” Moody

Richard “DJ Special” Moody, Belize International Jazz Festival

“We are going from Corozal to Cayo to Cayo where we are going to finish everything off; we’ll be stopping in at Belmopan at the UB Gymnasium. We are also visiting San Pedro and in Belize City for two shows; one at the Bliss and another one at the Memorial Park which will be our kickoff and inaugural event and then we are also going to be in Placencia. So all the guys involved, get ready for a nice tour. We will be playing music throughout the country for international people and our very own Belizeans as well.”

What Will This Year’s Calendar of Events Include?

Shari Williams

But aside from the long list of festivals that will be held over the course of the year, the events within the September Celebrations Calendar will see thousands of Belizeans within the Diaspora come back home to participate. The National Celebrations Commission has hit the ground running and today, Communications Officer for NICH, Shari Williams, took the opportunity to call on organizers to send in specifics on their respective events.

Shari Williams, Communications Officer, NICH

“The national celebration commission has kicked off the planning session for the year. The year is fast going and September is right around the corner. So we’ve sent out two calls; one for a call for inclusion. We are asking people who have some ideas or some event that they would like to have during the month of September, in collaboration with our September celebrations, to send in that event. Tell us about your event: the date, the place, a little write up about it so that we can start preparing our calendar of events. As you know, people in the Diaspora always ask for these calendars early because that is how they decide how they are going to travel to come to Belize. So the deadline to submit that inclusion for the calendar is May twenty-ninth. They can email it at or they can drop it off here at the Bliss or the House of Culture in Belize City.”

Duane Moody

“Is there any specification for those events? Does it have to have a patriotic aspect to it or it’s just anything in general, once it falls within the month of September?

Shari Williams

“Well we are looking for events within the months of August and September. Definitely we are looking for events that have a cultural aspect to it. We are looking for anything: it could be…you know the celebration is two-part—both educational and festive. So it can be a grand old festive event or it can be something more educational like a conference or something.”

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