Hot line up for Belize Night at Sea & Air Festival

Andy Palacio will be the Belize headliner on Saturday, August 23rd at the Sea & Air Festival

by Dorian Nuñez

Along with Los Ilegales, Santino's Messengers, the Xaibe Cultural Dance Group and the Leomar Dance Group, Andy Palacio and the New Combination will absolutely make Belize Night the show-stopping event at the Sea and Air Festival.

After ten cassettes and 12-inch singles, there are now 3 compact discs of Andy Palacio's music. Kelmoun! (Beat On!), his first full length release has become the first Belizean recording to be licensed for the distribution in Europe and Asia. His latest, Till Da Mawnin, was released in January of 1997.

Andy Palacio has shown Belize that with a little hard work and dedication anything is possible. Today, with less than ten years in the business, Andy Palacio has emerged not only as a household name among Belizeans, but even more so as a trend setting ambassador for Belizean culture. He is considered to be one of Belize's foremost participants in the advancement of social cohesion among people of the world. Through his music, he continues to express his culture and philosophy while at the same time portraying his identity.

Andy was born and raised in Barranco, a Garifuna village in southern Belize. He joined the teaching profession for nine years and then left to do volunteer work in the National Literacy Campaign in Nicaragua. Largely a self-taught musician, Andy's career as a professional recording and performing artist began in 1988 with the commercial release of Come Mek Wi Dance, a sixty-minute cassette compilation of his earliest compositions.

Andy has been featured in numerous international publications and has appeared on several television shows in Belize, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and the United States. He has also been recognized twice by the Caribbean Music Awards and most recently performed in Holland and Belgium in May '97. Andy just recently performed at the first Barranco Music Festival on August 6, '97. For the first time since the beginning of his career he got to play a concert in Barranco where he was born and raised.

The San Pedro High School Band was organized about 3 years ago when the students expressed interest in organizing a band for the school. Two of the original members are still in high school and in the band. The band practices daily to perfect their performance and they practice new songs as well as compose original songs. They have been performing at events all around town; beach parties, quince años, birthday parties, graduations, pageants, etc. They have also played at Monkey Bay in Cayo for Earth Day and at the Bliss Institute where they went to compete with other bands in the country; no other band took the challenge and they were the only band present. They also went to Virginia, USA., accompanying the San Pedro High School football team and performed concerts at a number of nearby high schools. By now the people of San Pedro know that wherever the New Combination plays, there is going to be a big turnout party. The band is currently planning to travel to Chetumal, Mexico, to play at Rock Shots, a local night club that promotes small bands like the New Combination. They are very excited that they have the opportunity to play in our neighboring country and that a club like Rock Shots has invited them to perform in their prestigious environment. "We just hope that the people in Chetumal will like our music," said drummer Perlita Nuñez. "We hope that we can entertain these people like the other bands that have played there do. It will be a great experience for the band and it will be our opportunity to shine." The band has also been invited to play in Corozal.

Also performing on Belize Night will be Los Ilegales, Santino's Messengers and the Xaibe Cultural Dance Group with their cultural Mayan performances. The Leomar Dance Group from Belize City will as well be performing with their variety of vivid Creole dances. More pictures and information of these new performers coming soon.

The enthusiasm and support for the festival has been grand. TACA International Airlines tops the list of sponsors, being the Grand Sponsor for the Sea and Air Festival. Joining TACA in sponsoring the 1997 Festival are the San Pedro Town Board, the Belize Tourist Board, Cuellos Distillery, Bowen and Bowen, Love FM and American Airlines (who will be bringing Los Ilegales to Belize) fall in the Diamond Sponsors list. Gold Sponsors are The San Pedro Sun, Maya Airways, Bonanza Airlines, Ramon's Village and Mike Hotchandani. This years Silver Sponsors for the festival are Island Air, Pete's Enterprises, Belize Telecommunications Limited, Esso Standard Oil, Atlantic Bank, Belize Medical Associates and Caribbean Depot. Falling in the Bronze Sponsors list is Belize Bank, Angelus Press Ltd., Gush & Emy Ltd. and Maple Plastic. Special sponsor for of the festival is Dolphin International, as they will be sponsoring Gaylene Dawson, who will be representing Belize at the Reina De La Costa Maya International Pageant.

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