From La Ceiba to Belize: A Tribute to Andy Palacio

On Saturday, September 15th, Events Planners and the Battle of the Drums Committee will be hosting a concert in tribute to the late great Andy Palacio at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. The show starts at 7 p.m. and features Paul Nabor, Aurelio Martinez and his Garifuna Soul Band, the Garifuna Collectives and much more.

Proceeds from the concert "From La Ceiba to Belize: A Tribute to Andy Palacio" will be donated to assist in the building of the proposed gravesite monument for Andy Palacio. Tickets are $35 each and can be bought at the Bliss or by calling 600-1839, 631-5360 or 627-5902. Sponsors of the event are NICH, James Brodie and Company Limited, Belikin, Wave Radio and Wave TV, Channel 7, Channel 5, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Battle of the Drums Secretariat, Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina and The Bakadeer Inn.

Also in honour of Andy Palacio, the Ministry of Education has commissioned the writing of a book on the life of Andy Palacio. The book entitled “The Andy Palacio Moment” was written by Lawrence Vernon and will be published soon. Here is a foreword of the book by Dr. Joseph O. Palacio.

FOREWORD

This small but powerful book fills a vacuum in the literature about Andy Palacio. Surprisingly, there has been only one book dedicated to him, a collection of essays and memorabilia - photographs, newspaper clippings, etc. - that Yasser Musa so gracefully compiled a few months after Andy's passing in 2008 and entitled Andy Palacio. Lawrence Vernon has added a great deal to the story of the life of our beloved Andy but not altogether filling the vacuum that gets deeper with each passing year after his untimely death.

The name of each chapter in the book could itself be the title of a book on its own, which is waiting to be written. To a large extent, Vernon is challenging all Belizeans, especially the young and gifted, to continue the research that he has so carefully gleaned so ultimately we can deepen our appreciation of the multi-faceted contribution of this great Belizean to how he saw us expressing ourselves and to how he wanted to be remembered in the afterlife.

Vernon paints a compelling collage of Andy's life, starting with his humble roots in his home village of Barranco; to his commanding role in the embryonic music industry of Belize; to finetuning his musical formation; and finally embedding into that formation an inherently Garifuna brand that never before had been done among the approximately 400,000 Garifuna people in Central America and in diasporic communities in North America. Interestingly, the Garifuna, together with their compatriots in Central America and the diaspora, reacted with as much enthusiasm and love as the aficionados of world music in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. In his own way and through his Garifunaness, Andy had breached a gap that had long existed, making all of us, Belizeans and non-Belizeans, proud.

Unfortunately, within less than five years after his transition to the place of our ancestors, the lustre of Andy Palacio's unique legacy has begun to get dull and even lapse into the forgotten memory among several Belizeans. Vernon's work and the celebrations to take place in 2012 and, 2013 are one way to refurbish Andy's legacy. Much more needs to be done!

Dr. Joseph O. Palacio
Benebu, Barranco

The Guardian