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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Belize and Guatemala

The Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali, Belize City, Dangriga, San Ignacio, and Stann Creek, Belize; Livingston, Guatemala
The Garifuna Collective was co-founded and led by Andy Palacio (1960–2008), a musician dedicated to preserving the unique Garifuna language and culture. Today this group of accomplished, multi-generational Garifuna artists continues to tour and perform in Palacio’s memory and with his commitment to keeping Garifuna tradition and language alive against their threatened extinction. The hybrid culture of the African-Amerindian Garifuna communities, located on the Caribbean coasts of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, is influenced by West Africa and indigenous Carib, as well as the Arawak Indian language. Garifuna music has gained a following in the form of a less traditional style known as punta rock, but the Garifuna Collective focuses on the roots of Garifuna tradition, adding contemporary elements to traditional forms to bring the soul of this music into a modern context. Through their music, the Collective aims to portray what it means to be Garifuna. Peace Corps volunteers have worked with the Music Industry Association in Belize and with the Garifuna Collective’s record label on small business development and graphic design.