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Paul Nabor
by Marty on 10/23/14 05:01 AM


He has accompanied Andy Palacio and Mr. Wilfred Peters.
Belize‬ mourns and is proud to have heard you.

News has been received of the death of Paranda artist, 86 year old Paul Nabor.

Reports received say that the legendary performer passed away this evening.

Nabor had been ailing for an extended period.

In January of this year, he was hospitalized with pneumonia and at that time, thanked all those who were praying for his speedy recovery.

Patrick Jones

Photo Essay of Paul Nabor

#497195 - 10/23/14 09:50 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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So sorry to hear this. He was a great man & performer. Saw him many times over the years and attended a few of his birthday bashes in PG. RIP Mr Paul.

#497196 - 10/23/14 09:51 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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A Legend and a wonderful presence.
Pass in peace.

#497223 - 10/24/14 03:55 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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The Second Paranda King Passes

Paul Nabor - the 86 year old parandero and musical icon died last night at 6:50 at the Punta Gorda Hospital. Nabor had gotten a stroke ten days earlier and had returned to his PG home to be cared for by his grandson. Last night around 6:00 he took a turn for the worse and was rushed to the PG hospital where he was pronounced dead.

And so tonight, Belizeans and Garinagu all over the world are mourning the passing of this great on. Like his most famous song "Naguya Nei" says, "I am moving on…" - and so he has. Today we spoke to family, friends and band members about his contribution. First, you'll hear from Barbara Norales who was a close friend of Nabor's. Today in Dangriga, she said Belize and the world have lost a great talent:..

Babara Norales, Friend of Nabor
"I got to enjoy the spiritual and personal side of him and then I'll use this to send condolences to the PG people and Belize, they have lost one of its greatest asset. The Garifuna people has lost something great and condolences to his daughter Marie who is also an artist and I hope that Darius and the people from PG continue with the Paul Nabor birthday every year in January."

Jules Vasquez
"We have his sketch of his personal history outlined, but what is a thing about his personal history that makes you say wow I didn't know that?"

Babara Norales, Friend of Nabor
"What I said wow on was when he told me about his boxing history that he was a boxer and he would tell me about the number of fights that he got into and he referred to his himself as "Terenshal" he was just a trouble person too. His life experience when he tells you the story, I think its interesting that you get to see the person and not the artist on the stage."

Musician and engineer Al Ovando also has a valuable perspective. He toured the world and recorded with Nabor over a period of many years. Today, also in Dangriga, he told us that the story of Belizean music has lost one of its most important chapters:..

Al Ovando
"When we got the word, I just thought about the whole life and history and music in Belize and the legend Paul Nabor. Everything becomes more difficult now to try to tell anybody else about the music of Belize and Paul Nabor was the pinnacle and the best example you could ever have when it comes to music from Belize."

And while it seems like we have always known him, Nabor was known mostly in the Garifuna community as a singer and songwriter. That was up until the late 90's when he was a part of Stonetree Record's groundbreaking album "Paranda". That brought him to the forefront and made his song Naguya Nei one of the most well-known recordings in all of Belize. Al Ovando discussed that seminal recording today:..

Al Ovando
"He was the first to lend himself to be recorded at that level; that level of production and distribution that happened with the Paranda album and thanks to Stonetree Records and Ivan and all the Panaderos who got together and insisted that the world needs to hear this. Naguya Nei is like I mean the anthem of the Garifuna people and the struggle of the people and the whole history of Belize. People that hears the song for the first time; he just steps on stage and once the guitar intro comes in, it's like everybody knows this song for like years and everybody gets up and just waiting for the song to begin and for Nabor to start singing and there is this energy I think that nobody else has. I've never seen it with any other musician or artist up to this time; he just steps on the stage and everybody gets up and like everybody knows Paul Nabor for years and this is like in new countries and we never questioned why, we just appreciate and we accept that phenomenon."

Later on you'll hear from his family who we spoke to today in Punta Gorda Town and from the man himself as we look back at excerpts of the groundbreaking documentary, "Three Kings"

A Look Back At Nabor's Legacy

Indeed, the 2007 Three Kings documentary by Katia Paradis - set Peters, Nabor and Mes on a pedestal - and now two of them, Peters and Nabor are gone.

If Naguya Nei thought us how to sing with Nabor, The Three Kings taught us how to love him. The documentary captured his remarkable musical career and the sacred moments in his life as well as the joy that he spread through his music and simply: his presence. With the permission of the film-maker, Here are a few classic clips from that documentary.

Not all the clips you saw in that clip were form the three kings documentary.

No funeral arrangements have been set as yet - because Nabor's family is waiting for his daughter Marie to arrive in country. We'll keep you posted - nad we'll have more Nabor coming unto the end of tonight's newscast…

Paul Nabor's Final Days Battling Illness

As we told you at the top of the news, the legend, Paul Nabor, died last night after months of illness.

The 86 year-old was very ill, after suffering 2 strokes. Earlier this week, he suffered a third, and that illness sapped the rest of his vitality until he passed away at around 6:50.

Nabor was a spiritual elder of the Garifuna, or as they are called, "buyei", but he was best known as a musician and songwriter for over 60 years. Those who knew him say that his talent was only surpassed by his humility, and willingness to work with and impart his knowledge to anyone who approached him for instruction.

Today, 7News went to PG to speak with his family about Nabor's last few days, and about his legacy. Here's what they told us:

Linda Barrow - Grandaughter-in-law
"On the 12th October, he suffered his 3rd stroke and he was hospitalized at the Punta Gorda Hospital until the 20th October. He was released then and he was brought home. From there on he continue to grew more ill and then yesterday at 5:45 he fell much more ill and we rushed him to the Punta Gorda Hospital where the nurses and the doctors tried their best to save him and he was gone at 6:50. Before he grew ill, he was a very vibrant and energetic person. He use to get things done on his own. He is very independent and he is very jovial. He is also a priest for the temple and he does his work there. At his last stages when he got sick, last year December, all of that was terminated. He was well respected throughout the whole world I would say because he is international and in the music industry he cooperated with each and every one. He always give them options to play along with him. He would teach them things that he knew to the younger artists and apart from that he is always willing to be at functions. He got an award from the Governor General for the achievement of his music. He also got an award from LOVE FM on his birthday."

David Lino - Grandson of Deceased
"I did what I could. I leave my job and I came to do my mom part for her and...."

Daniel Ortiz
"I know it's quite difficult for you sir, can we ask you what are some of the things you are going to remember about him as an individual, as your grand dad?"

David Lino - Grandson of Deceased
"He was very kind, he taught me a lot of things. He taught me principles, respect, love myself and love everyone and he get along with everyone. It doesn't matter how difficult the day is or the time is, he always have something good to say, it doesn't matter how difficult your day is. When you sit down and talk to him, you will surely get something positive and that will motivate you to keep on going in life."

Today, both NICH and BTB released statements noting Nabor's passing. They reminded that in 2004 and 2011, he was honored for his contribution to culture and music with the Order of Distinction and Meritorious Service Award.

Notably, Nabor collaborated with the Late Andy Palacio, Aurelio Martinez, and the Garifuna Collective. He became known across the country as "One of the Three Kings" of Paranda, and he is best known for his song, "Naguya Nei", a tribute to his sister who passed away.

Channel 7

Farewell Paul Nabor: A Belize Music Legend

Belize lost a national treasure and we farewelled a wonderful friend this week with the passing of Paul Nabor, Garifuna parandero extraordinaire and one of the best cultural ambassadors Belize ever had.

Born in January 1928, Paul, known as Nabi to his many friends, packed more into his 86 years than most people get to experience in ten lifetimes, from growing up in a simple Garifuna village to captivating audiences the world over with his deeply soulful Paranda songs and a humanism that cut across all societal and cultural boundaries. Whether in Belize City, New York, Europe or Malaysia, Mr Nabor, often wearing a large cowboy hat, would appear on stage and within seconds have any audience, anywhere, in the palm of his hand. There was something about him…

Nabi was a musician, songwriter, a Garifuna Buyei, or healer, herbalist, sailor, craftsman, pugilist (the name Nabor comes from his boxing days), valued elder, and much more. Up to the end of his life he continued to fill his days fishing from dawn in a dugout dory he built himself, singing and playing his guitar and providing spiritual comfort and physical healing to the many people who sought him out at his temple in the Southern Belize town of Punta Gorda.

We’d sit for hours as Nabi recounted stories from an amazing life; being caught out at sea in gales and drifting for days, working in dense jungles, surviving jail in Guatemala, knocking down much bigger opponents in the ring, teaching himself guitar and playing villages and towns up and down the coast of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras before becoming recognised and playing to large audiences around the world.

He built his own homes, boats and instruments with hands that were rough and scarred but could still gently caress and create exquisite melodies on guitar.

Whatever Nabi did, he did with a grace and inimitable style that was all his own, and with a legendary strength combined with gentleness and hard won wisdom he was happy to share. He lived life to the fullest, and gave back in innumerable ways. Words can’t describe how much he was loved, and how much he’ll be missed.

But his music will be with us for a long time, and his legend and impact will only continue to grow in stature.

Just as with fellow Garifuna musician Andy Palacio, who preceded Nabi in passing, and with whom he played, recorded and toured, Paul Nabor changed Belizean music and brought it to a large international audience.

Along the way, he inspired countless Garifuna youths to pursue their dreams and celebrate their culture.

Paul died peacefully of natural causes, and will be honoured by the government and people of Belize with an official funeral next week.

Ayó, old friend

Chaa Creek blog

#497232 - 10/24/14 04:54 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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Paul Nabor to get an official funeral

The government of Belize will honour the legacy and contribution of Paranda artist Paul Nabor with an official funeral. A date for the funeral for Nabor has not yet been determined.

The announcement was made via a statement issued this afternoon by the National Institute of Culture and History.

His daughter is expected to arrive in Belize in the next couple of days at which time arrangements for the burial will be finalized.

Patrick Jones

Remembering “Nabi”...

It's been two days now since 86 year-old musical Legend, Paul Nabor passed away, but still, the list of persons wishing to acknowledge his importance has not come to an end.

Today, the National Garifuna Council released a statement reminding that Nabor's influence was international. His music was influential in spreading Garifuna culture to the rest of the world, and today the NGC lamented his loss.

Indeed, as one of the most influential musicians performing in the paranda genre, Nabor ascended to iconic status. We've been doing a deep dig through our archives, to remember Nabor. Here's what we found:

Jules Vasquez reporting
Did you ever see him touch the stage? Did you ever see him dance?

Deseree Diego, Performed with Nabor
"I will tell you that everybody who knows Paul and who see him on stage, the moves that he has - that's what draw the crowd and I know everybody would want to remember him just showing off on stage."

This is how the crowd reacted at "Y-Not Island" in 2007 just at the opening chords of Naguya Nei...

Al Ovando, Performed with Nabor
"Naguya Nei is like I mean the anthem of the Garifuna people and the struggle of the people and the whole history of Belize. People that hears the song for the first time; he just steps on stage and once the guitar intro comes in, it's like everybody knows this song for like years and everybody gets up and just waiting for the song to begin and for Nabor to start singing and there is this energy I think that nobody else has. I've never seen it with any other musician or artist."

He sang with such intensity, gripped the microphone like his life depended on it. His voice conjured from somewhere deep within…deeper than his throat: a guttural, primal wail, as familiar as an old mahogany door sighing open, as fierce as a battle cry:

In Hopkins, they danced in the rain…At the Bliss, the Bourgeois stood up and cheered…

All over the world, Nabor set stages on fire.

Deseree Diego, Performed with Nabor
"To be honest with you he bring a lot of power. He has his own fans."

Al Ovando, Performed with Nabor
"It's like having a leader with the right direction and you know, you are just filling in - that's one of the biggest thing I think Nabor brought, that spectacle of a show to the audience. As old as he was, giving him all the leverage and all the backing so he could dance."

But perhaps what must endeared about Nabor was that when he stepped off the stage, he came right back to earth.

Barbara Norales, Nabor's Friend
"I think that his experience in life, a lot of times we don't accept the experiences that we have in life like, a lot of people would come and say, oh look at Paul Nabor live in the temple and live poor and he is comfortable with that. That is what makes him, him. That is what makes his soul, his soul, and he is comfortable in that environment. We have spoken about that - the level of humility that he had."

We've still got some more in the old archive and we'll be showing that to you leading up to the funeral.

Nabor's daughter was expected to arrive in Belize today - and from there, funeral plans will be decided.

Channel 7

#497306 - 10/27/14 04:07 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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Paul Nabor: on the passing of a national treasure
Michael Stone looks back on the life of Nabi.

Garifuna singer and Belizean national cultural treasure Paul Nabor (January 26, 1928—October 22, 2014) died on 22 October 2014 at the Punta Gorda town hospital. Nabor had been hospitalized in January 2014 for pneumonia and dehydration, had been in poor health for some time, and on October 12 suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. From the coastal village of Barranco, Toledo District, Belize, Paul Nabor (born Alfonso Palacio) or “Nabi” was best known as a singer and writer of Garifuna paranda songs, a ballad form accompanied on guitar and percussion. Like many Garifuna men, forced by socioeconomic circumstance to migrate in search of work, Nabor lived his life between Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Nabor had been a boxer in his younger years (his assumed name comes from his days as a pugilist). At home in Belize, Nabi was a fisherman, sailor (in his hand-built dory), traditional farmer, herbalist, and Garifuna buyei or priest and spirit medium, presiding at dügü rituals at his dabuyaba or Garifuna temple. Spanish-Canadian filmmaker Katia Paradis' award-winning documentary Three Kings of Belize (Amazone Films 2007 - see below) offers a touching portrait of Nabor, along with brukdown accordion king (Wilfred) “Mr. Peters” and Maya traditionalist Florencio Mess, two fellow masters of Belizean roots music.

When singer Andy Palacio was recording Keimoun (1995), producer Ivan Duran asked him about the origin of one of the songs. Palacio responded that is was by uncle, Paul Nabor. Duran asked to meet Nabor, the genesis of his recording career, beginning at age of 71 with the Stonetree Records documentary compilation Paranda: Africa in Central America (1999), and subsequently with the Garifuna Collective.

Recognizable for his signature head scarf and oversize cowboy hat, Nabor was feted as a Distinguished Guest by the Government of Honduras when he visited Tegucigalpa in 2006 for the release of Aurelio Martínez's Garifuna Soul. Nabor was honored on the steps of New York City Hall in 2008 with a proclamation by the NY State Senate. He also was the recipient of the Government of Belize's Tribute to Belizean Patriots (2011), the Order of Distinction (2004), and the Meritorious Service Award (2004). In 2011 the Government of Belize granted him a pension “In Honor of His Lifetime Contribution to World Music.”

At press time, the Belizean National Institute of Culture and History announced that the Government of Belize will honor Nabor with an official funeral. He is survived by his only daughter, Marie Santino Martínez, his grandson David Lino, and Lino's wife, Linda Barrow.


"Naguya Nei" (I Am Moving On)

Nabor wrote “Naguya Nei” when his sister was on her deathbed. Nabor's funeral procession will sing the song at his memorial service. As Nabor remarked in Three Kings of Belize, “I told all my family, when I die and go to my grave, you put this guitar inside with me.”

Brother, I am ill
Dear brother, I am ill
I have tossed and turned in my bed
With this ailment in the presence of my family
I have spoken with my children
Dear brother when I pass away
They must have a band at my funeral
It is my little ones I'm worried about
It is my children I'm worried about.
   ©1998 Paul Nabor & Stonetree Records (BMI)

Paul Nabor from Katia Paradis on Vimeo.

Further adventures:
Three Kings of Belize
More about Garifuna Music

Source: Roots World

#497333 - 10/28/14 04:11 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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Nabor Funeral Saturday In PG

The funeral arrangements for Paul Nabor, legally known as Alfonso Palacio, have been finalized. The funeral will be held on Saturday morning at 11:00 am at St Peter Claver Church in Punta Gorda Town.

The 86 year old parandero is being given an official funeral.

It will be preceded by a tribute concert on Friday night from the multi-purpose building. The media is teaming up to try and air the events live and technical arrangements are being finalized.

Channel 7

#497463 - 10/31/14 04:37 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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7 Things You May Not Know About Paul Nabor

We've learned a lot about Paul Nabor this week and through the film The Three Kings many of us already knew a lot about him. But, still, the man is an enigma - and that's because he's a bundle of contradictions: great global fame matched up against great humility; great talent but precious few recordings…and the list goes on.

Yesterday we spoke to his great friend Michale Norales from Punta Gorda by way of Dangriga. Along with Darius Avila, he set up the Paul Nabor Birthday concert every January - and yesterday he reminisced with us about some of the little known things about Paul Nabor. Ivan Duran who toured all over the world with Nabor also chipped in with some reminiscences:…

Belizean Artists at Tribute to Paul Nabor


It has not even been a week since the news broke across the land that Paul Nabor had died in Punta Gorda. On hearing of his passing my initial thoughts were of Nabor the man, and the way he existed in this world.

The thoughts in my head flowed to the pace of Adrian “the doc” Martinez’s Baba. Then my mind drifted to Santiago Cal’s iconic image of Nabor off the coast of Pene his hometown in a dory. It is a black and white image. The man and the sea.

What is it about hearing of death that realigns the soul? Andy Palacio’s Lidan Aban (Together) played in my heart as I tried to reignite the special moments. Three more images rushed in – Paul in Malaysia with his big hat, Paul and Andy arms stretched in unity on the stage at the re-opening of the Bliss in 2004 and of course the rainy night in Belize City at the Brodies parking lot when Paul danced on stage in front of thousands in 2007.

So now in 2014 I try to harness the sequence of ideas and thoughts that I have about the man Nabor. From my friend Dr. Joe Palacio I learnt that Paul, born Alfonso Palacio, worked as a young man at sawmills in southern Belize. He was also a chiclero, and a fisherman. And like many young men of his time “he migrated to Guatemala and Honduras where he could get jobs with the fruit companies and his fish could fetch more cash. When he was in Guatemala and Honduras he became more serious about his music, singing and playing the guitar with groups or by himself. From early in life he had a special liking for Paranda music. He became a spirit medium (ébu) in Garifuna, which enabled him to be an effective healer throughout Punta Gorda and other parts of southern Belize. As a spiritual healer, Paul had to shed many of his earlier ‘bad boy’ ways. He also became more serious about his special gifts as a musician.” (from email by Dr. Joseph Palacio)

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to speak to almost 400 young High School leaders inside the Art Centre of St. John’s College. The topic was leadership. I used the example of Paul Nabor as a true leader. When I asked the students if they ever heard of Paul Nabor, most of them raised their hands. These were students from schools across Belize. I explained to them that for me Paul was a leader because he led by the example of his life – humble, passionate, engaged, and conscious. He was a man that paid attention to the temperature of his thoughts, a man who reflected on the community and most importantly he acted with his music.

It is easy to understand how Nabor entered our consciousness and never left. In 2000 Stonetree released the album Paranda. It started as far back in 1995 when Ivan Duran and Gil Abarbanel travelled across Belize, Honduras and Guatemala to record the style of music we now know as Paranda (which means to revel). Many of the recordings were made inside thatch buildings. Nabor’s song Naguya Nei became an instant classic.

In 2000 UNESCO recognized the Garifuna Culture as a masterpiece of humanity. Nabor the man is an example of this masterpiece – oral and intangible.

In 2009 the filmmaker Katia Paradis released Three Kings of Belize featuring Paul Nabor, Wilfred Peters and Florencio Mes. For me this film represents an important part of our DNA of artistic life in the 20th century. It illustrates how art cannot be segregated from life.

We live in the 21st century where technology has enveloped our lives. Nabor’s life and art proves to us that the time to create is every day. Not to create as an artist or idea of artist, but to make art as a chiclero, as a fisherman, and as a human. My friend Joan Duran describes the orbit of Nabor’s life as a solar panel. What we see and hear in his music is brought to us with technology yes, but the source and the power of the music comes from the sun. Nabor is that sun.

By Yasser Musa for The Belize Times

#497519 - 11/02/14 04:44 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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Paul Nabor’s casket is lowered into the tomb

Paul Nabor is laid to rest in Punta Gorda town

Legendary Parandero Paul Nabor, whose given name at birth was Alfonso Palacio, was laid to rest this afternoon in Punta Gorda town, following an official funeral.

The St. Peter Claver R.C. Church in PG was filled to capacity for the Mass of Thanksgiving for the life of the 86 year old Nabor, who died on October 22 following a long illness.

Tributes to the fallen icon were given by Yasser Musa, the former President of NICH, Robert Mariano, the President of the National Garifuna Council and Dianne Haylock and President of NICH.

The Eulogy was given by Darius Avila, President of the Battle of the Drums Secretariat.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on the Patrick Jones website

#497571 - 11/04/14 04:06 AM Re: Paul Nabor [Re: Marty]  
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The Official Funeral for the man known as the King of Paranda Paul Nabor was held on Saturday in Punta Gorda town.

Fans and followers from all across the country - as well as the head of state, the leader of the opposition and a government minister converged on PG Town for the event. But, this weekend, it was more than just a funeral; it was as also a celebration of the music man's life with a star studded tribute concert.

We start first with the Official Funeral, which was carried live on Channel 7. In case you missed, it, we put together a few important bits together. Daniel Ortiz has that story:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
Paul Nabor's casket arrived at the Saint Peter Claver Church at around 10:20 on Saturday, delivered by BDF Soldiers.

Inside, the funeral-goers waited patiently for a chance to get a view of him.Government and State Officials joined the rest of his family and friends today:

Monica Jane Marie Martinez - Daughter of Deceased
"I thank each and every one of you guys that are here in this very difficult moment, it's sad for me; one, I was the only child, one father, one child and one mother. I lost my mother to breast cancer, now I lost my father. I have children, but it's not the same. I still need each and every one of you."

And each and every person in attendance joined her in participation for the formal ceremony and religious mass.

Almost 2 hours into the proceedings, the designated speakers reflected on Alfonso Palacio, the man known as Paul Nabor, sharing anecdotes to about his singular character:

Sr. Supt. Robert Mariano - President, National Garifuna Council
"Nabor was a defender of the Garifuna culture and its ritual. He stood for everything Garifuna and was most concern about its survival. His "daburba" was his sanctuary and this man help to heal many."

Yasser Musa - Director, Image Art Factory
"I begin with two episodes at international airports, told to me by Ivan Duran who accompanied Nabi. The first was at the Miami airport; the immigration officer asks Nabor what are you doing here? And Nabi answers if you don't want me here you can send me right back home. In Houston Texas; another officer, this time a woman asks Nabi what do you do? And Nabi answers "I sing" and she says would you sing me a song? He sings the first line of Naguya Nei. I still remember her eyes, she look at me and said can I take him home with me. She had fallen in love with Nabor. Nabi, when you open your arms waves crash into the coast; you knew how to get people happy. Via YouTube I watched you and Andy in Rotterdam dance like a dandy. In Stern Groves, San Francisco, like the howling wolf of the Mississippi delta, like a black Seminole your voice from the first moment you hear it, it penetrates your heart, you knew how to make the people happy."

Aurelio Martinez - Student of the Deceased
"You have to stop here because I want to pee in the hallway. You know Nabi is an older man, but he do best to be the Garifuna culture alive in the international world. We don't have men like him in our history."

Darius Avila - President, Battle Of the Drums Secretariat
"He apparently acquired the name Nabor after he challenge and defeated a boxer whose name was Nabor. Prior to that match, the original Nabor was undefeated, but he was trash so badly by our Alfonso Palacio who at some point had acquired the name of Paul that his friends started to call him Paul Nabor."

Diane Haylock - President, NICH
"Paul Nabor did not aspire for greatness. Indeed he was a gentle, humble, peace loving, cultural protector right to the very end. But greatness came his way by virtue of the human being that he was and Belize is privileged to be able to call him one of the sons of our soil."

And, when all the speakers had their say, the religious rites of the funeral ritual was allowed to finish.

Shortly after that, the BDF loaded the casket unto the official hearse, which took Nabor's body through the streets to his final resting place.

In his final moments above the earth, the State paid it's respect, and Nabor was given a 21 gun salute. After which, the dirt was piled on slowly, like the closing of the curtain on a great musician's final performance.

Yasser Musa - Director, Image Art Factory
"Brado, did I make it? Yes you did Nabi, yes you did."

Channel 7

A Final Tribute to Paul Nabor

Earlier, we showed you the beautiful and poignant church farewell to the legendary parandero Paul Nabor. But for the undisputed king of paranda, that was only one stop on his final journey with his people. Mike Rudon has coverage from the Cemetery where Nabor’s family and friends paid tribute to him, and said ayo Nabi as he transitioned to Seiri.

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The body of Paul Nabor, in a coffin custom made for him, was carried into the cemetery on the shoulders of the Belize Defence Force. A final resting place had already been prepared for him. As the solemn procession made its way, the band played Nabor’s hit Naguya Nei, which he had written for his sister on her deathbed. He had asked for that song to be played at his own funeral. The life of this great man impacted many – so while his farewell was a celebration of life, there is also grief and sadness.

David Lino

David Lino, Grandson of Paul Nabor

“The entire family is feeling it because we know we lost a loved one – especially my mom. She’s taking it very serious. Right now to be honest and sincere I can’t find the words to describe what we feel and how we feel exactly because it is a great loss…and not only for us but for the entire Belize on a whole because everybody loved him.”

Aurelio Martinez

Aurelio Martinez, Parandero

“When I heard that it was almost like I was going to die too. Because Paul Nabor we knew he was sick and in the hospital. I talk to him by phone sometimes, but he told me he was going to try. He said I feel bad but I’m going to try. So I’m still waiting for him to try. Because we needed our partner in this project, international project for the Garifuna music, our Grandpa, our friend.”

Paul Nabor was eighty-six years old. He would have been eight-seven in January. This king of paranda was a prolific song writer and singer throughout his life, but he only gained regional and international recognition in his later years, when he and the legendary Andy Palacio, along with the Garifuna Collective, put Belize on the cultural map. So the sense of loss from his death is a tangible thing.

Paul Nabor

Aurelio Martinez

“It’s personal for me because we are close with Paul Nabor. When he comes to Honduras he lives in my house. When I come here I eat fish with him at his house so we are close. I am close with him, so it’s personal for me. And for our nation, the Garifuna nation, not just for the Belizean people – Paul Nabor represents the Garifuna nation. In an international way people know about the Garifuna music because of this project. Maybe we had many artists before, and many Garifuna singers, but the Garifuna music only started to be recognized a few years ago in an international way, and we started with Paul Nabor.”

P.U.P. Leader. Francis Fonseca. made the trip from Belize City to bid farewell to the musical giant. He says he had to, not only in his official capacity but because he knew and respected Paul Nabor.

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“One of the best memories I have of Paul Nabor is a day we spent together along with Andy Palacio in the village of Barranco when as the Minister of Culture I travelled to Barranco to participate in a ceremony designating Andy Palacio as a UNESCO Artist for Peace. Barranco is his home village so that’s where the ceremony took place. And Paul Nabor who considered Andy Palacio a sort of grandson was there. He was there to support him and to participate in this international recognition of this great Belizean artist Andy Palacio. And we spent the entire day together – in Barranco – we ate together, we talked about music, we talked about culture and life in Belize.”

The death of Paul Nabor has brought to life a sentiment that the country neglects its great artists who contribute so much and who proudly represent Belize. Nabor is the second of the Three Kings to die, but are we guilty of waiting until they’re dead to acknowledge their lives.

Francis Fonseca

“Many of these good gentlemen and the women who are in music and arts live from hand to mouth, quite literally. As you know we’ve made a big deal in Belize of talking about three kings. We lost Wilfred Peters and now we’ve lost Paul Nabor. The last remaining king is Florencio Mes. And both Mr. Peters and Paul Nabor essentially died with very little even though we hailed them as these great musical artists. I think as a society, as a nation, as a people we certainly have to do a lot better. We have to do a lot better in terms of appreciating these individuals, recognizing these individuals, but also in tangible ways demonstrating to them that there is value to the work they produce on behalf of this great country.”

Aurelio Martinez

“You know he told me something – you know I love to come to Honduras because the children have a lot of respect for me – everybody called him Grandpa. And sometimes in Dangriga or Hopkins or Peine, Paul is also the children don’t have the same kind of respect and he missed that because he was born in that kind of respect. We preserve that kind of respect in Honduras in our Garifuna village and Paul Nabor felt that.”

With the official ceremony completed, Nabor’s family and friends took over and said goodbye in the rich tradition of the Garifuna culture.

David Lino

“My grandfather all the time taught us discipline – to be humble, love yourself and respect others. No matter what you achieve in life or whatever you have, continue to be the same person – learn to interact with other people, communicate with other people without differences. I think that’s the biggest lesson he ever taught us and the nation. I know that he’s a loving person. He had a lot of love for himself and his family and everyone.”

Mike Rudon for News Five.

Legendary Parandero Laid to Rest

On Saturday, in Punta Gorda, the man dubbed the King of Paranda was laid to rest at the age of eighty-six. Paul Nabor’s send-off was spectacular, and aside from the pomp and ceremony of an official funeral, included a concert held by his friends and musical colleagues, who said their goodbyes and celebrated his life with song. It was a weekend filled with passion, symbolism and an immense outpouring of the rich, vibrant Garifuna culture. News Five was there for the weekend and we have extensive coverage. We start with the official funeral held at St. Peter Claver Church in Punta Gorda Town. Mike Rudon was there and has the story.

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Paul Nabor, known as Alfonso Palacio in a former life,  was laid to rest as he had lived his life – humbly, surrounded by loved ones, with passion and with song. His send-off was testimony to the impact he made on his people and his country, befitting the esteem in which this musical legend was held. Some persons travelled from far to say goodbye, but probably just as he would have wished it, the majority of those in the church Saturday morning were family, friends, and those from the community who knew and loved him. Nabi, the man and the musician, was much loved and respected.

Yasser Musa

Yasser Musa, Artist

“Your voice is a drought and a deluge. It is African, Amerindian, Garifuna and Belizean…it is a cry of anguish, a sultry, seductive lovemaking under thatched moon. Nabi, in the twilight you took to the world stage, educating younger artists. In the pedagogy of proceeding, you didn’t need to go. You did it for them, always willing to help, showing that art is not about glory, but about how to live.”

Robert Mariano

Robert Mariano, President, National Garifuna Council

“Thank you for your contribution in keeping Garifuna culture alive all over the world. Like a great actor, you have made your last stage performance. You have given your last act and now you have taken the backstage for the curtain to be drawn one last time. May Joseph Chatoyer, Alejo Beni, Thomas Vincent Ramos, Pablo Lambey, Gabaga, Junior Aranda, Mr. Cookie and also Andy Palacio and all the ancestors come to meet you in the glory of the Almighty.”

Paul Nabor will be remembered by the nation as the King of Paranda, a title to which he held undisputed claim in his later years. Music was a part of his everyday life and he was rarely without his guitar, but in his lifetime he only recorded ten songs. Aside from Paul Nabor the musical artist, there was Nabor the man – a sawmill worker, chiclero, fisherman and buyei, fruit company worker, songwriter and father to his only child, Monica Marie Martinez.

Monica Marie Martinez, Daughter of Paul Nabor

Monica Marie Martinez

“He always told me – daughter, I have to do good things for people in order for you to have good things in your life. God will bless you daughter, abundantly, because you were not a child that gave me and my sisters who raised you problems. If you are a problem now, you’re on your own. But when you were growing up you were a good child. And that is nice to hear and keep in your memory from a father that is so loving, caring and giving. When he didn’t have it to give it to me, his sisters did, and I thank each and every one of them because they taught me love.”

Nabor’s life was celebrated in church through song, the passionate rhythms which were so much a part of his life. And the man he considered a son said goodbye with the words of the song made famous by Nabor himself.

{Song by Aurelio Martinez…}

As much as the funeral was a celebration of his life, the grief of his passing lay heavy on the shoulders of those who loved him – his family and close friends – and perhaps especially on the shoulders of his only daughter, who honoured her father one last time.

{Song by Daughter, Monica Marie Martinez…}

The ceremony lasted a full two hours before the body of the legendary parandero was led to his final resting place, escorted by the B.D.F. guard and the rhythmic voices of his Garifuna people. Mike Rudon for News Five.

Channel 5

“Paranda King”, Paul Nabor, buried with honors in PG

An official state funeral for renowned Belizean musician and parandero, Paul Nabor, was held last Saturday, November 1, at the St. Peter Claver Church in Punta Gorda, Toledo, where he had lived for most of his adult life.

The funeral service for the 86-year-old musical icon, who was born under the name Alfonso Palacio, started at 11:00 a.m. and ended almost two hours later with hundreds of adoring fans and admirers in attendance, in addition to a host of family, friends, government representatives and dignitaries such as Governor General Sir Colville Young and Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca.

The ceremony was replete with recollections from a repertoire of highly regarded musical artists including Aurelio Martinez, who flew in to Belize from Spain earlier this week for the interment.

Nabor’s only child, Marie Martinez, who came in from the United States, sentimentally spoke about her father, who was affectionately known by most of his colleagues as “Nabi”.

She said, “He always told me, ‘Daughter, I want to do good things in order to uplift your life. God will bless you abundantly, daughter, because you were not a child that gave my sisters who raised you problems. If you are a problem now, you’re on your own, but when you were younger, you were a good child.’ And that is so nice to hear from a father…that was so loving, caring and giving.”

Apart from being a musical great, Nabor was also known as a humble and dedicated fisherman in his coastal hometown of Dangriga, and according to Robert Mariano, the president of the National Garifuna Council, who was his neighbor, “Nabi” was a jovial and hardworking individual who liked his “taste” and his music.

“What I remembered of him was his cheerfulness and industriousness. Nabor was a fisherman by profession. He went fishing in his dorey most weekdays and always brought in the best. I remembered my older brother selling fish on strings for him in Dangriga. He was also fun-loving. In the evening, he along with a man called Mr. Cookie and other men would play their guitars or practice their music. They were very happy whilst they did this. We did our best to emulate them by having our own ‘milkpan combo’ in the neighborhood. Nabor loved his ‘taste’ and everyone in the neighborhood knew when he was under the influence [of alcohol] – he would come singing down the street with his guitar in his hand. We all loved him, though, because he was all of our friend”, Mariano recounted.

While we understand that Nabor has left behind only 10 recorded songs, culture and art enthusiast Yasser Musa described his contribution to Belizean music as pivotal when considering his influence in the paradigm shift of Garifuna music from Punta to Paranda – a genre that was adopted by other prominent Garifuna musicians such as Aurelio Martinez and the late Andy Palacio, who consequently recorded what has been regarded as some of the most preeminent albums of their careers.

Musa narrated numerous encounters on international tours during which Nabor captivated the hearts and minds of many foreigners who were amazed at his sheer vocal talent and instrumental skill.

In his posthumous message to the musical icon, he said, “Your voice, from the first time you hear it, it penetrates your heart. You knew how to make the people happy. The vigor of your aching hands strum acoustic honey. Nabi, the awakening is just that – you taught us that it is never too late to begin now, to get up and speak creativity to the world. Nabi, you led a cultural resistance against the sterilization of our minds; you put salt back in our eyes so we could recognize again who we are. Nabi, you are King, not King of the Grammy, but King of gratitude – King of your temple, King of the spirit, King of curiosity. Everytime you left the stage, you would say, ‘Brado, did I make it?’ Yes, you did Nabi, yes you did! Udumbeya weyu. Landini ayo da, Nabi. Ayo da Nabi, Ayo!” Musa cited.

Aurelio Martinez told the gathering that he was grateful to have benefited from the works and tutorage of Nabor, who has been credited with keeping Garifuna culture and music alive not only in Belize, but all over the globe.

He said, “They don’t have many Nabi’s in our history. We start[ed] with him. I love you, Nabor. I’m going to love you forever. I’m gonna keep your work alive. He told me at NICH at [the] Bliss [Center for the Performing Arts], ‘Aurelio Martinez, I’m done; you are the next king. I’m gonna give it to you – this power.’ And I told him, ‘No, Nabor, not yet, you are still here and you are still a King of Paranda, even if it’s only where you live. ‘I’m tired, brother, you have to take this power; you have to keep alive this culture’, he [Nabor] told me. I’m happy to be here, but crying and sad [at the same time]. From Spain, I tried to sing part of Naguya Nei, the lyrics, but I couldn’t finish.”

“Guys, Paul Nabor didn’t die. Garifuna people don’t die. Paul Nabor is here like Andy Palacio. He’s here with us singing Watina…,” Martinez mentioned as he led the congregation in singing the famous tune which was an award-winning masterpiece compiled in 2007 in collaboration with Nabor, Palacio and the Garifuna Collective.

Yesterday, prior to the funeral, a motorcade was held in his honor through the principal streets of Punta Gorda led by the Umalali Band, with whom Nabor toured nationally and internationally.

Scores of bystanders, including schoolchildren, lined the streets to witness the event even as intermittent showers saturated the street – a testament to the unparalleled love and respect held for the man who was known as the last “King of Paranda”, an evolved form of traditional Garifuna music that is played using customary instruments such as drums and guitars.

A private wake was subsequently held at his residence, in addition to a tribute which was held for the third and final night at the Punta Gorda Sporting Complex that included a moving lineup of artists, including the Paranda Blue Band, The Umalali Band featuring Mario Rodriguez, the Wagirale Drummers, Adrian “Di Doc” Martinez, Poots “Titiman” Flores, Godfrey and the Culture Dynamics, Aurelio Martinez, and the Garifuna Collective, of which Nabor was a revered member.

On Saturday morning, Nabor’s body was picked up from the morgue by a color guard from the Belize Defence Force and transported in a formal procession to St. Peter Claver Church, where it lay in state from 10:00 a.m. until the start of his funeral service at 11:00 a.m.

Paul Nabor passed away at his home in Punta Gorda on October 22 after suffering his third massive stroke.

May his soul rest in peace.


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