Austin Rodriguez Drum Shop is located on Y-Not Island in Dangriga where three generations of drum makers have safeguarded the tradition of making Garifuna drums for over 45 years. Drums are an integral part of the Garifuna culture, used in Garifuna Traditional and Punta Music, Paranda and Dance. They are essential in the completion of rites of passage such as the “Nine Nights” and ancestral ceremonies such as the “Dugu'.
Mr. Austin Rodriguez is renowned for innovating the method of making drums. His technique employs using a chainsaw to make several drums from one log; this means the Rodriguez Family sustainably utilizes majority of the hardwoods they harvest from the Belizean rainforest.
In 2020 the Rodriguez family was double hit by tragedy. First, the Covid-19 Pandemic slowed visitation and revenue to the drum shop. Second, torrential rain and severe thunder storms damaged the roof of their drum making shed, subsequently causing the closure of their business. Since that time the family has been seeking avenues to rebuild the shed so that they can continue doing what they are passionate about- providing a space where everyone- musicians, students, tourist and visitors- can make their own drum.
Thank You to Southern Belize Media for allowing us to share this video of Ms. Daytha Rodriguez, daughter and accomplished female drum maker, talks about the important role of ensuring that Garifuna drums- craft and instrument endures for generations to come!
We can all help by assisting, volunteering and donating- time, energy and resources to this noble cause. Contact Ms. Daytha Rodriguez via WhatsApp at 602-8593 or by email at: [email protected]
If anyone would like to assist "Austin Rodriguez Drum Making", in the construction of the shed you can contact, Ms. Daytha Rodriguez at phone # 602-8593, or through email at[email protected]
Photos Courtesy:- Juanita Joseph and Sister, Henry Lopez and Gems Dangriga.
Discussion with Daytha Rodriguez, who is the daughter of master drum maker Austin Rodriguez. We discussed her becoming a female drum maker and the support that is needed to assist in the rebuilding of the drum making shed on Why-Not Island.