Aurelio, A Homecoming

We've been covering Aurelio Martinez on this newscast since the late 90's. He's one of the most entertaining performers of Garifuna music, but more than just a song and dance man, he's got soul - and he is known to leave it all on the stage - especially when he performed at the Bliss Center. Aurelio and his Garifuna Collective have a special show planned for tomorrow at the Bliss and we found out about the concert and the album they are promoting:

Jules Vasquez reporting
Back on the Bliss stage today for a rehearsal, Aurelio Martinez remembers 13 years ago when he first touched this stage and Belize became his spiritual home.

Aurelio Martinez - Celebrating 30 Years in Music
"I have to be here, don't have to be another place, you know about the reason why."

The reason is what happened on that night. Aurelio was joined by an All Star cast including Andy Palacio and Paul Nabor - and he remembers it with a mixture of sadness and joy:

Aurelio Martinez - Celebrating 30 Years in Music
"So, I'm happy to be here…Andy Palacio gone."

Ivan Duran Stonetree Records - Producer
"This is the first stage where he felt unconditional love from his people."

And now he's come back with a new album, "Darandi". It is a greatest hit set- recorded live at Real World Studios in the UK.

Ivan Duran, Stonetree Records - Producer
"And he picked his 12 most dear songs to record on this album and the whole idea of the recording was that the band was gonna go in, everybody in one room and record exactly how they were playing those songs live during the tour. We have produced what I consider by far the best package we have done in all this almost 25 years of making music in Belize. And this package to me, when I saw it the first time…it's something that I never actually dreamed that we could achieve."

It brings together some of the best-known songs from his Stonetree releases which have toured all over the world.

Ivan Duran Stonetree Records - Producer
"He just came back from Australia two weeks ago, first time Garifuna music was played in that continent in an amazing festival, so let me start with Australia and go down the list: South Africa, Norway, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Czech Republic, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, USA, Canada, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Slovenia, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Belgium, Japan and Senegal."

And now he's bringing it back here to where the paranda journey began as a public performance piece:

Ivan Duran Stonetree Records - Producer
"The Bliss is in great part responsible for what you're going to see here tomorrow because this music was almost born on this stage. When Paul Nabor and Andy and Aurelio hold hands and sing."

Aurelio Martinez- Celebrating 30 Years in Music
"When I come here to be on the stage I'm gonna feel the entire crew vibe, you know, we gonna be here with Paul Nabor with Gababa Williams, with Junior Aranda, with everybody - Garifuna Collective, you know, and all those Garifuna spirits are gonna be here tonight, tomorrow."

And Duran hopes he can hold up when the flood of memories comes back and he has to sing Paul Nabor's anthem.

Ivan Duran - Stonetree Records Producer
"I really feel it for Aurelio because he has song Naguya Ne and I've seen him in like BBC and he can't finish the song because it just - you feel like you are missing him. Even after all these years after we are still trying to contain this and it's not sadness you know, it's just this feeling that is undescribable."

And all those feelings will go into tomorrow's show.

Ivan Duran- Stonetree Records Producer
"This is not just another concert this is something really really special for us, we feel it and we've been feeling it for weeks now that something amazing will happen here tomorrow night because this stage is a very special stage for paranda music."

Aurelio Martinez - Celebrating 30 Years in Music
"I've very proud around Belize, this is my house, I'm a Belizean I'm not gonna say I feel like a Belizean again, no I am a Belizean."

And tomorrow, he'll bask in it, again.

The concert takes place tomorrow night at 8:00 at the Bliss.

Tickets are on sale now.

Channel 7


Aurelio Martinez is Back! Live Album and Concert in Works

World famous Parandero, Aurelio Martinez, is back in Belize to celebrate thirty years of Garifuna music with the launch of a new album.  Darandi, or thirty in Garifuna, is a collection of a dozen songs that are either composed by Aurelio or performed by him, and includes a cover of Paul Nabor’s classic, Naguya Nei.  To commemorate the milestone, Aurelio is returning to the stage at the Bliss for one night only.  On Friday, the legendary artist will present a thirty-track playlist that spans his musical career.  Accompanied by renowned producer Ivan Duran, the Honduran born artist called an informal press conference this morning where Darandi was unveiled to the Belizean public.  According to Aurelio, he drew from all his musical influences in the composition of this album.  The music, says Duran, is universal in its appeal.

Ivan Duran, Producer, Stone Tree Records

“This sound belongs to a group of dedicated people, both in the studio and on the stage who have committed their lives and they feel a pride for each note and each sound and each effect and each image that it’s indescribable.  He is there and I really commend him because he is the most professional Garifuna artist I have ever had the privilege to work with.  He is the most complete, and again, if he were to stop making music tomorrow he would still be one of the greatest and it’s because at the human level what Aurelio represents it’s something that doesn’t happen very often.”

Aurelio Martinez, Parandero

“This album is not just about me, you know, it’s about our ancestors and our future.  Our children, not just about me.  I want to see Lloyd together with Supa G and the entire crew and the younger artists I see in Gulisi yesterday trying to do abeimahani, oumahani, you know.  I see Paul Nabor in this child.  I see my grandma in these beautiful babies doing something in our tradition, you know, wearing Garifuna clothes.  So I’m happy to be here.  Andy Palacio is gone.”

Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us a bit about the album and your choice of songs.  I know there are twelve songs on this CD.  What does each one of them mean to you or what is the most significant song to you on this album?”

Aurelio Martinez

“Locally it’s Dugu.  It’s a tribute to my good friend who passed away.  My first friend from Belize, Andy Palacio.  And the other one, Naguya Nei, because Paul Nabor, for me is grandpa, my dad.  And then Naguya Nei is very easy for people around the world to repeat…  In Japan, in UK, a few days ago in Australia I make people sing the song easily, you know.  People start to sing with me everywhere.”

Ivan Duran

“This album was recorded in the UK, was recorded in Benque Viejo.  Additional tracks were mixed between Benque Viejo and Dangriga by Al Obando.  Alejandro Colindas who’s from Mexico City, who co-produced the album.  This is from everywhere and music has no borders, like Yalifu, the pelican song that Aurelio wrote, you know.  Music has no borders and people have no borders.  Feelings have no borders.  And if we make music that touches you, that’s all we care [about].”

Aurelio Martinez and Ivan Duran will be special guests on Open Your Eyes on Friday morning and will be accompanied by members of the Garifuna Collective and members from his band in Honduras. So be sure to tune in. 

Channel 5