A decade ago, one of Belize’s finest artists died: Andy Palacio, who placed Belize on the international music charts transitioned at the peak of his musical career. His cultural music, however, continues to excite as well as inspire people all over the world. The Garifuna Collective, founded by Andy, has been appearing on world stages keeping the Garifuna music alive. Their next stop is in the US; tonight they perform at Music Hall in Portsmouth to kickoff a tour that will also take them to Australia for the first concert there. His close friend and promoter, Ivan Duran says, “Thanks to him, many more people around the world know about Belize and our unique Garifuna music.” News Five’s Duane Moody looks back at Andy’s life.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Ten years ago, today, Belizean musical legend, Andy Palacio passed away. At only forty-seven-years old, Palacio suddenly became ill and died of a stroke. It happened in the height of his career as an artist and musician. Even though he already had over two decades of hit songs under his belt, Palacio won the prestigious WOMEX Award from the World Music Expo, he was named Artist for Peace by UNESCO and named Belize’s cultural ambassador for putting Belize on the map and leaving behind a rich legacy of the Garifuna culture and music.
Cynthia Cayetano, Andy Palacio Tribute Committee
“For us, it is very important that we do not forget who Andy is and what he did for Belize. Because what he did in extension not only for Garinagu, but for Belize. He put Belize on the map. For a lot of people who didn’t know, he represented us at several concerts, festivals; in particular, after the Watina album came out, he filled stadiums all over the world. One of the number one things that he did was that he spoke about Belize. And, of course, he also impressed upon us not to lose what our forefathers gave to us Garinagu. It is our firm belief that not only do we not want to forget him but we also want to continue his work.”
Known for timeless songs from the nineties, such as Give Me Punta Rock, Til Dah Mawnin’, Ereba; and tracks from the Watina Album, including Lidan Aban and Baba, Palacio was renowned for his craft. One of his most memorable performances was back in 2006 when he threw a concert at the Brodie’s parking lot on the Phillip Goldson Highway shortly after the release of his final album, Watina.
In remembering their father, Tara and Kamau shared memorable moments of the cultural ambassador, who would have been fifty-seven.
Tara Palacio, Daughter [File: January 19th, 2017]
“With him, I would say that he tries to keep it to the roots and he always tries to implement his language within the cultural music. So, to me, musicians now should try to be more active with the culture itself and not just the words of the song to have everybody dancing.”
Kamau Palacio, Son [File: January 19th, 2017]
“He is like into education and stuff. So sometimes he would call us late at night and say are you watching this certain show on TV? Put it on because it is talking about something educational, yeah.”