Tony Wright never got blessed by an institution of higher learning, but ask any musician and they will confirm that the man is a musicologist of the highest order. For 21 years, he has hosted the show Belize Musicians Part and Present on KREM Radio - a product of his conviction that Belize's musicians must be recognized, appreciated and honoured. In that time he has laid down the blueprint for the oral tradition of Belize's music history, and now, he has turned that spoken word story into a written history, with the launch of his first book. Just like the show it's called Belize Musicians Past and Present and it was launched today at the Image Factory. Co-Publisher Yasser Musa told us why the book matters:..

The thirty-two page full color book will be available where books are sold.

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Tony Wright releases compendium of Belize Musicians, past and present

Tony Wright is perhaps best known as president of the Association for Belizean Artists First and host of the popular radio show “Belize Musicians Past and Present”. But he was once a musician himself, and he has led the fight to recognize and promote Belizean artists for some time. This morning, under the auspices of the association and Image Factory, he released a book that offers short biographies and mentions of a who’s who of Belizean musicians, in a trip through our musical history. Wright tells us more about the book, aptly titled “Belize Musicians Past and Present.”

Tony Wright, President, Association for Belizean Artists First

Tony Wright

“We have a lot of artists – somebody talk about Nelson Diamond just now; we have his name in here, but I just recently received, actually, a picture of Nelson Diamond. This is just, you da say, book one – mek wi put it like that, because we had a lot, a lot of Belizean artists that we couldn’t fit in, because a, like a say, financial strap and what not, you know? So we had to use what we had; actually the Association for Belizean Artists First da di sponsor behind this book.”

Wright collaborated with Yasser Musa of the Image Factory Art Foundation to compile and produce the book, while Angelus Press did the printing. Amandala publisher and long-time friend and employer of Wright, Evan X Hyde, contributed a short introduction. The book is on sale for fifteen dollars.

Movement continues to gain recognition and support for Belizean artists

According to Wright, the book has two aims: to recognize the many men and women who have entertained us for decades, and to bring awareness to the need to preserve Belizean culture. At the short launch ceremony held at the Image Factory, Yasser Musa in his remarks made note of the fact that this coming weekend, no less than twelve international artists will be coming to the Jewel to perform for huge fees, with Belizean artists booked as opening acts for peanuts. Wright says that circumstances must change if Belize is to preserve and maintain its cultural identity.

Tony Wright, President, Association for Belizean Artists First

Tony Wright

“We from the Association for Belizean Artists First Sound Fest will be 15 years old and we have never ever really got a full backing from none of these people, the Minister of Culture and none of these people. So, sometimes we think that well they font really care about arts and culture and they just want to see jump up and bramming and what not. More and more the Belizean artist are turning to different genre of music because they think that that is the only way that they are going to be heard. And we are losing our culture more and more and that is what we are fighting for. Keep Lord Rhaburn, keep Mr. Peters, keep Brother David and all these other people, keep them alive because all of these people that we have, they are great. And the young people once they see these people getting the respect, then they will want to join us and be a part of it and they will then know that we really appreciate them.”

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