|Chico performs with passion and a true love for his Belizean
Born Herman Ramos to parents Carl and Claudina Ramos, Chico grew up in his hometown of Dangriga in the Stann Creek District. The middle child of seven young boys, he was born on February 20th, 1963, and attended Sacred Heart Elementary. His time in school was quite busy as Chico loved to keep occupied and was very active in sports. Chico enjoyed spending time with classmates playing soccer and absolutely loved to show his high kicks in karate. But, the one thing that kept Chico even more occupied and the one thing that he remembers the most of his childhood is the time he spent with both his grandfathers; his maternal grandfather was a musician while his paternal grandfather was a songwriter. Chico would spend time with both of them taking in their love for music to the point that it ran strongly through his veins.
The beats, tones and keys of what encompass music were now a big part of Chico’s life. In the summer of ’77, Mr. Peter Jones, owner of the then band Supa J’s, had a gig to play in Mango Creek. They needed a drummer and he knew that Chico was great with the Punta drums and asked him to fill in. “I had never played a drum set before – he gave me confidence when he told me that if I knew how to play the Punta drums that then I could play the drum set,” he recalls. After asking his mother for permission, Chico packed up and went to take part in the band’s gig in Mango Creek. Without a doubt, he did fantastic; so good that Mr. Jones asked him to join the band full time.
That year (1977), Chico graduated from elementary school; however, because of his family’s lack of financial resources he was unable to continue his education. He began to work and also started to concentrate more and more on music. Chico knew he wanted to pursue music to the best of his ability and he had confidence in himself that it would work. He became an integral part of the Supa J’s, until three years later when he joined his brother’s band. For the following three years he immersed himself completely in the Sound City Band. By this time, Chico was not only playing instruments but writing his own music and lyrics as well as delving into the songbird within him, singing many of the band’s songs.
Chico’s life began changing into an international musical career when his uncle was planning the celebration of his daughter’s “quince” (a young lady’s 15th year birthday, celebrated in Mexico much like a sweet 16th in the United States – a big, glamorous affair). He invited Chico to travel to Mexico to be part of the night’s entertainment, which he gladly accepted. After playing for the birthday bash, work papers were filed in Mexico for Chico to stay and work. For the next year, he worked as a musician in several Mexican bands, gaining recognition but most importantly acquiring more experience as the days went by.
Chico returned to Belize with some earnings; earning that he turned into Songs Incorporated, a recording musical group, specializing in what he knows Punta Rock. He dedicated his life, passion and soul into Songs Incorporated for the next five years until 1988, when he took a big step and went to live and “get his feet wet” in the United States of America. By 1989, Chico had not only gotten his feet wet but had them soaking. He recorded his first compact disc called Stop Scratch up mi back (Stop scratching my back). This disc contained the track Sopa de Caracol (Conch Soup) – a song that played through the airwaves around the world. With its upbeat, lively Punta beats, Sopa de Caracol had everyone singing along, tapping their feet or dancing to the tune. It became such a great hit that the popular Banda Blanca from San Pedro Sula, Honduras changed the song’s original Garifuna language to Spanish. Soon enough the Spanish version, was playing throughout South and Central America. The song became a fight in court, when Chico sued Banda Blanca and copyrighted Sopa de Caracol; the matter was eventually settled out of court. The song hit popularity beyond Chico’s wildest dreams, selling 1.5 million copies in the United States alone. With record album sales, hit songs, and incomparable beats and music, Chico was now in demand. This demand had the artist travel to all parts of the world sharing his Belizean tunes; traveling to parts such as Europe, South and Central America and all over the United States of America, he performed everywhere except for Asia and Africa.
While his music was making waves in the United States, Chico still remained close to home and joined ventures with his brother in Dangriga. Together the duo opened Integrated Business, a local stationery store which filled Dangriga’s needs of school and office supplies, as well as text books. The same year he opened his business, he married life long friend Lucy Loredo in November 1993. The couple has three children, Cashwan (11), Hersey (14), and Herman, Jr. (20).
While in the US, Chico released nine albums and feeling the desire to return home, come back to his roots and he returned to Dangriga in 2000. Upon his return, he dedicated more time to his business and family. Although living in Belize, Chico still participates in international concerts and events and that year took part in a huge show organized by the International Development Bank in Washington, DC.
Because of all his major musical accomplishments, Chico Ramos was, on February 23rd, 2007, named the Godfather of Punta Rock and awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Punta Rock Music Association. For the entire weekend, a flurry of activities were held in Dangriga Town in his honor. Not only was he bestowed with those honors but he also celebrated 30 years in the music industry. Chico sang 30 songs in his big Belizean concert, a song for each year, some of the big hits he belted were Babylon Salira, T.V. Ramos, Thank I Neibu, Scratch Up Mi Back, Shus, School First and most recently Peke off his latest album – Sports.
In his free time, Chico loves socializing with friends, loves to play checkers, flying kites and spending time with his family. He takes part in concerts aimed at helping the less fortunate and provides scholarships for underprivileged children.
Because of everything that he has accomplished and the recognition he has brought to the beautiful, energetic Punta beats, Chico Ramos is a star in “Our Belizean Community.”