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




Let the Rhythm Move You: Music of the Garifuna

The Caribbean coast of Central America moves to a unique beat that reflects the West African and Carib Indian roots of its Garifuna (gah-REE-foo-nah) people. Take a journey into the Garifuna sound by sampling three musical styles: Paranda, Punta and Punta Rock.

The following selections were chosen by Ivan Duran, a Belizean record producer and founder of Stonetree Records, Belize's first and only record label. Duran and his company have helped put the Garifuna sound on the world music map. "When I work with older musicians, I am close to the most pure, untainted version of Belizean music," says Duran. "To me that's a lot more rewarding because there's a spontaneity and a soul that's harder to find in more modern music."

Priest and Poet: Paul Nabor

Paul Nabor

Paranda music features nostalgic ballads coupling acoustic guitar with Latin melodies and raw, gritty vocals. Paranda also can feature traditional Garifuna percussion, like wood blocks, turtle shells, forks, bottles and nails.

Listen: "Naguya Nei" ("I Am Moving On")
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The Ambassador of Punta Rock: Andy Palacio

Andy Palacio

Punta Rock infuses Garifuna "roots" music with modern instruments -- like the electric guitar, keyboards and bass -- in an infectious dance-floor beat. It's a contemporary blend that marries tradition and innovation.

Listen: "Gimme Punta Rock"
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Unplugged: Lugua & The Larubeya Drummers

Lugua Centeno

Punta compositions are usually performed live at festive events and family gatherings, including funeral wakes. In Punta performances, call-and-response vocals are driven by rapid-fire African drumming. Instruments vital to the Punta sound are the Garifuna primero and segunda drums, Garifuna maracas, or sisira, and an occasional conch shell.

Listen: "Ayahan Eigabu" ("They Are Eating You")
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Let the Rhythm Move You: Music of the Garifuna by Sheraz Sadiq. Sheraz Sadiq is Associate Producer for FRONTLINE/World.

Producer: Angela Morgenstern; Designed by: Susan Harris, Fluent Studios; see full web credits.

Music on "Let the Rhythm Move You: Music of the Garifuna" appears courtesy Stonetree Records.

Photo Credits: The photos of Paul Nabor and the drum (Ivan Duran, Stonetree Records); Photo of Andy Palacio (Andy Palacio, Dangriga, Belize 1995 by Marie Louise Deuraz); Photo of Lugua Centeno (Lugua Centeno, Hopkins Village, Belize 1999 by Katia Paradis)

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