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The Garifuna Collective

Belize

The soul music of Belize’s Garifuna people

The Garifuna were rebellious former slaves forcibly exiled from St Vincent in the closing years of the 18th century and callously abandoned by the English on an island off Honduras. Around three thousand survived and eventually reached the Central Americanmainland where they settled across Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, creating enclaves that were distinctly African in their cultural make-up.

The Garifuna Collective hail from Belize and, for the past 20 or so years, have been wonderful ambassadors for the music of their people. Featuring multiple generations among their ranks, this is music of deep soulfulness that, over time, has merged the sounds of West Africa and the Caribbean to create the unique identity of a displaced people. As the late Charlie Gillett wrote when the group first came to our attention, they represent “the meeting point where ancient meets modern, where acoustic slips effortlessly into and out of electric”.