Los Malacates introduce Ska to San Pedro and INGUAT fires up the stage

Members of Los Malacates

Guatemalan entertainers added their touch of magic to the Costa Maya Festival Tuesday night, July 21st. The performances were nothing short of spectacular. Los Malacates had a great night despite the rain delay. The crowd had dispersed but after the rains declared themselves officially over, Los Malacates were ready to perform.

Los Malacates emerged in Guatemala about a year ago in February. They came together as friends enjoying music as a hobby. They are a young band that seems to be hitting Guatemala hard with their original Ska compositions. Ska is a new-wave dance music that hit the music scene a couple of years back and now seems to be on a steady climb in the music industry. Los Malacates were the first to introduce Ska to Guatemala.

"We have gotten such a good response from the Guatemalan people," said Francisco Past, lead vocalist. "We are so glad to have gotten such a great response from our own people."

The group has performed all over Guatemala at sports events, clubs, festivals and in their own private concerts. This is the first time that they performed outside their home country.

"We are so excited to be in San Pedro for the Costa Maya Festival," said Francisco. "It is very important that we come together as one big family. We need to open the doors of friendship even wider, not only for Belize and Guatemala, but to all the other Central American countries as well."

The music was also a first for San Pedro, but the crowd totally enjoyed their music. A small crowd of "groupies" gathered in front of the stage to dance and cheer as the band played, jumped and skipped across the stage. Los Malacates were a sure hit in San Pedro.

El Instituto Nacional Guatemanteco de Dansas Folkloricos (INGUAT) lighted up the stage with colorful fireworks and beautiful costumes. INGUAT was born in 1990 with the primary objective of promoting tourism in Guatemala and showcasing the country's cultural values, music, dance, costumes and folklore.

INGUAT has participated in many festivals in Mexico, Central and South America, Europe and the U.S.A, including Madrid at the Tourism Fair FITUR (Feria International de Turismo) and The Festival del Caribe in Cancun, Mexico.

Twelve members of the dance group came to participate in the festivities. Julia Vela, director and founder of INGUAT, mentioned that an additional twelve members will be added to the dance group in preparation for their participation in the Expo '98 Trade Show in Portugal in September.

This year INGUAT incorporated Creole dances into their performance. Julia Vela stated that the Creole culture is very much a part of the Guatemalan culture.

"The Creole culture has never been stressed a lot in Guatemala and we are trying to create an awareness in Guatemala and abroad," said Julia Vela.

Their dances consisted of four parts. The first and second part were Ketche and Ketchi Indian dances and the rest were Creole dances from the Guatemalan region.

This is not the first time that the INGUAT dance group has come to Belize. They participated in the 1995 Sea and Air Festival.

"The INGUAT dance group is very happy to be in San Pedro once again," said Julia Vela. "The island is very beautiful and we all love to come here to enjoy the sun and the sea. We are also extremely happy to be able to participate in such a beautiful festival which exhibits our artists and culture. All the countries are so much alike even though we are apart."

Los Malacates introduce Ska to San Pedro and INGUAT fires up the stage

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