Frontline World

BELIZE - The Exile's Song, January 2004

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "The Exile's Song"

Music of the Garifuna

Follow the beat

Land, People, Economy

Background, the Garifuna Diaspora, Punta Rock




Links and Resources

• General Background
• The Garifuna in Central America
• The Garifuna Diaspora
• Punta Rock
• Media Resources

General Background

The Government of Belize
The official Web site of the Belize government includes information about the prime minister's latest activities, lyrics to the country's national anthem and prayer, and links to other government agencies.

BBC News Country Profile
The BBC country profile of Belize provides an overview of the country that includes its history, information on its current-day leaders, a timeline from the 16th century through March 2003, and links to media in Belize.

Belize National Population and Housing Census
The Belize Central Statistical Office Web site provides statistics on the country's population and information from its 2000 census.

"Belize: A Literary Perspective"
This lecture by Belizean author Zee Edgell, presented by the Inter-American Development Bank's Cultural Center, details Belize's history. (PDF format)

Belize Tourism Board
The official Web site of Belize's tourism industry includes information on the national tourism policy and on Belize's "eco-ethic" toward environmental and sociocultural sustainability and equitable distribution of the economic benefits of tourism.

The Toledo Ecotourism Association
The association, owned and operated by Mopan, Kek'chi and Garifuna villages, is dedicated to minimizing the negative impacts of tourism, Belize's number one industry.

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The Garifuna in Central America

"Weaving a Future From a Tangled Past"
Photographer and author Susie Post Rust explores the Garifuna people and their West African roots in this 2001 National Geographic piece. Features include an online gallery, author field notes, a Garifuna history map and music samples.

Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
In 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization proclaimed the Garifuna culture -- specifically Garifuna language, dance and music -- to be "a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity." The U.N. proclamation, which identifies "remarkable forms of expression," is only one of 19 issued.

The Garifuna Journey
This 46-minute documentary explores the Garifuna culture. Filmmakers Andrea E. Leland and Kathy L. Berger collaborated with the National Garifuna Council in Belize to make the documentary. Their collaboration has been used as a model for outsiders and insiders working together to document a culture.

"Stranded in Paradise"
This article by Washington Post writer Teresa Wiltz explores the Garifuna in Guatemala, where 4,000 to 6,000 Garifuna are living. Wiltz reports from the town of Livingston, a Garifuna fishing village, where residents are increasingly dependent upon tourism. (The Washington Post, December 2002) (Registration required)

Facing the Music
Josh Jackson reports for Perspectives in Health Magazine on the high rate of HIV/AIDS in the Garifuna fishing villages of Honduras. The AIDS rate among Honduran Garifuna is 15 times Honduras' national rate, and the HIV rate, four times higher than the national rate. (Perspectives in Health Magazine 7, no. 1, 2002)

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The Garifuna Diaspora

The Garifuna Migration Teacher's Guide
This teacher's guide, developed by Stanford University's school of education, offers lessons and activities for learning about the historical migration of the Garifuna and their migratory patterns around the globe.

"Gaining a New Life -- Losing a Culture? Garifuna Immigrants Try to Combat Media, Consumerism"
Los Angeles Times reporter Anne-Marie O'connor reports on the more than 100,000 Garifuna who have migrated to U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. (Syndicated in The Seattle Times, May 17, 1998) (Registration required)

"A Quest to Count the Descendants of Islanders and Castaway Slaves"
This New York Times "Neighborhood Report" on the Bronx by Seth Kugel details educator Maria Elena Maximo's efforts to count Garifuna immigrants in New York City -- estimates range from 18,000 to 150,000 -- through her nonprofit organization Jamalali Uagucha, which translated is "the voice of our ancestors." (The New York Times, Aug. 5, 2001) (Registration required.)

The Garinagu in New York
Columbia University journalism student Angelica Medaglia reports on the South Bronx and East Brooklyn Garifuna communities dating back to the 1940s. Her article is one of 16 in "Race and Ethnicity in the New Urban America," a student-produced anthology (2001).

Garinet is an information exchange for Garifuna communities. The Web site maintains message boards, an events calendar, news and other updates.

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Punta Rock

Punta Rock is one of Belize's most famous musical and dance forms today, combining traditional instruments and ancestral Garifuna rhythms with modern instruments, like the electric guitar. Other forms of Garifuna music and dance include hunguhungu and chumba. Hunguhungu, a circular dance in a three-beat rhythm, is often combined with Punta. promotes and supports Belizean talent, including Punta Rock musicians. Its Web site includes artist interviews, news and press releases, and music downloads.

Stonetree Records
The musical label of many Punta Rock artists has included online its catalog, artist information, and industry news.

Center for Black Music Research
A research unit of Columbia College Chicago, the CBMR is devoted to the research, preservation and dissemination of information about the history of black music on a global scale. Abstracts for papers and archival materials on traditional Garifuna music and Punta Rock are archived on the Web site.

New Africa Presents
New York's concert series showcasing live music from Africa and descendants of Africa hosts an online photo gallery of some of the artists participating in the series, including Garifuna musicians and dancers.

Global Hits
The public radio program The World features Garifuna musical celebrity Andy Palacio, also the subject of the FRONTLINE/World segment "The Exile's Song." The Web site includes streaming music by Palacio.
This site features news about recent albums by Punta bands and video and audio clips of performances.
This Web portal, dedicated to Afro-Latino culture, gives a brief history of Punta Rock music, the contemporary, electronic offshoot of the ancestral rhythm and dance of the Garifuna people of Central America. It also includes a brief profile of painter and musician Pen Cayetano, regarded by many as "the King" of Punta Rock music.

"Musician's Work Captures His Culture"
Chicago Tribune reporter Aaron Cohen features Punta Rock musician Rhodel "Rhodee" Castillo, who performed in the 2003 Garifuna Settlement Day celebration in Chicago, where 3,000 to 5,000 Garifuna are estimated to live. Cohen argues that Castillo's recently released album, In Exile, serves as a narrative of the Garifuna. (The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 16, 2003) (Registration required)

The International Garifuna Band
This Bronx-based band, specializing in a quieter style of Punta Rock, is featured on the Web site of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A video clip from the band's June 2001 performance at the center is streamed on the site.

Popular Punta Music Readily Available at Record Shops
This article by Wendy Griffin traces the roots of Punta music and banguity (new life), a traditional Honduran dance. Griffin reports on the dance ritual at wakes and the story behind the name "punta." (Honduras This Week, Oct. 26, 1998)

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Media Resources

Channel 5
Belize's largest television station, which broadcasts from Belize City, provides a daily online transcript of its evening television newscast.

The San Pedro Sun
This weekly community newspaper is published on the Belize island of Ambergris Caye.

This is the online edition of the weekly independent newspaper of Belize.

Love FM
The Web site of this commercial radio network in Belize, first transmitted in 1992, provides daily news and music headlines. It also has an archive of headlines.

The Belize Times
This weekly newspaper is published by the People's United Party, one of Belize's two major political parties.

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