It was the brilliant, sadly brief international career of Andy Palacio that most recently brought attention to the music and remarkable history of the Garifuna people, the so-called black Caribs. Since his death, his work has been continued by Aurelio Martinez, another fine singer-songwriter and guitarist who is appearing at Womad this weekend. The Garifuna are descended from black African slaves who managed to escape from captivity during a shipwreck off the Caribbean island of St Vincent, back in the late 17th century. They intermarried with the local Carib population, and are now scattered across Central America, including Belize, where this set was recorded. Produced by Stuart Baker, the founder of the Soul Jazz label, it's very much a followup to his album of rara street music from Haiti last year. Like that set, it's finely packaged, and veers away from commercial songs to concentrate on traditional styles, from lengthy, hypnotic passages of drumming and chanting to the call-and-response styles of dugu religious ceremonies.
Buy the CD
Soul Jazz Records Presents The Black Caribs Of Belize
Garifuna: Ancestral Travellers Of The Caribbean
Soul Jazz Records