Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Articles on Andy Palacio

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January 25, 2008

The celebration of the life of Andy Palacio continued today with a tribute held at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. The Bliss was packed with artists, supporters, family, friends and colleagues. Andy Palacio is loved by many and people that gathered at the Bliss this morning paid tribute in a very special way for the huge loss to Belize and the World. Love News spoke to some of the artists that have worked with Andy throughout the years.
“I could remember 1995 when we started working and that was the first time I met Andy and I had a very good working relationship with Andy and he has taught me a lot and the things that I will not forget are the things he taught be especially when we were out in France, the first time when we made an appearance in France.”
“I’ve worked with Andy on many occasions. He taught me as well. I was asking him questions and how to go abut doing certain things for my new cd. Andy was a very nice person and I’m glad we worked together, not for too long but the time that I knew him, he’s been good to me. This is one of the greatest loss that Belize has ever gotten. No words can explain this loss for Belize and Andy Palacio is a great man, he is a true friend, a father, a brother.”
“In Punta Rebbles we started working with Andy in the late 90s. The relationship was great. I was in St. Kitts and I learnt a lot from Andy. You need to have discipline in the music and that made Andy Palacio go quite far. He had passion for the Garifuna people and music and for Belize on a whole so this is a great loss to Belize. I just hope that we have others like Andy Palacio who will follow in his footsteps and continue the work where he left off.”
“We just basically lost our father who was making things happen for the Garifuna culture and to the country we just basically lost a brother that knew what, where and why. I don’t think we can replace that but it’s just a footstep and a footprint that other people will have to find and trodden their way through the sand.”
Ivan Duran says that the death of Andy Palacio is a great loss to Belize and the World but Andy will continue to live on through his work.
Ivan Duran:
“Well what’s next is to actually myself and Andy’s friends and musicians will basically focus on paying tribute to Andy for everything that he left us, for everything that he was to accomplish for Belize and for Garifuna music. We’re going to make sure that we continue that work, that mission that Andy had and the first steps that we’re taking is the tour that Andy had for this year, which was to be his biggest tour ever around the world. We will continue that tour on his behalf and it will now be called a ‘Tribute to Andy Palacio Tour’. We’re going to invite some of his best friends to stage. There is a lot of talent in this group and in Belize and so our concern is not like what we will do now. I think if we stay true to ourselves and we pay tribute to this great artist then everything will fall into place, but right now we’re mourning the loss of not only a friend, but a great artist, a great ambassador for Belize and I think he is now an icon for the world and at least we’ll have somebody to emulate, at least we have that and that is also something that Andy’s leaving us, he’s leaving us a great example of a great artist for others to follow.”
During the tribute held this morning messages were sent from far and near. Tributes were made by the National Creole Council, Stonetree Records, CARICOM, NICH, UNESCO Commission and the National Garifuna Council. Patricia McPherson conveyed the message on behalf of Secretary General of CARICOM, Edwin Carrington.
Patricia McPherson:
“Mr. Palacio, cultural ambassador and official for Belize, was greatly appreciated for his contributions to the annual meetings of the regional cultural committee which is comprised of CARICOM’s directors of youth. As part of the CARICOM family, Andy participated in several regional cultural forums, in particular the Caribbean Festival of Arts, CARIFESTA in which he showcased his incredible talent as a musician and coordinator of Belize’s participation in the festival. Andy Palacio was prolific in his compositions and musical productions and highly celebrated for his engaging performances in Punta Rock and lately in the more soulful side of the Garifuna music. His many achievements include being the first Caribbean and Latin American artist to be named a UNESCO artist for peace. Andy’s successes in advancing Belizean music have been a shining example and an inspiration to young musicians in his native Belize and the Caribbean. The Caribbean community salutes this distinguished son of the region and takes this opportunity to extend sincere condolences to the family of Andy Vivian Palacio as indeed to the government and people of Belize. He will long be remembered as an ardent and passionate advocate of his music and other cultural traditions of the Garifuna people of Belize and Central America for his outstanding talent and for his commitment to the development of the Caribbean cultural forums and expressions.”
Roy Cayetano also paid tribute to Andy on behalf of the UNESCO Commission and the National Garifuna Council.
Copies of Andy Palacio’s Compact Disc were on sale this morning at the Bliss. According to members of Stone Tree Records, proceeds from the sale today will go toward the Andy Palacio Educational Fund being managed by Stonetree Records.   A motorcade through the streets of Belize City was held earlier today as they escorted the body of Andy Palacio to the municipal airstrip where he was flown out to Punta Gorda and then carried to Barranco. Another tribute is being held in the parking lot of the Bliss where artists like Aurelio Martinez and those who have worked with Andy are performing in his memory. Andy will be laid to rest in his home Village of Barranco at noon tomorrow. Andy Palacio passed away at age 47.

Andy Palacio remembered, lamented, eulogized!  

Poor Best
Friday, 25 January 2008

The unexpected tragic death of Andy Palacio has stunned the music world and triggered a flood of tributes and remembrances of the man and his music.
No Belizean has ever touched the international community the way that Andy has by his music and personality. These have gained for him a status comparable to another great Caribbean icon, Bob Marley.
Andy died in Belize City on Saturday, January 19 after suffering a stroke followed by a heart attack. He collapsed in his Belmopan home, experiencing dizziness and slurred speech.
Rushed to Belize, to the Universal Hospital for specialized tests which proved inconclusive, he was flown by air ambulance en route to Chicago, where a group of specialists were waiting for him.
But he never reached. His plane made an emergency landing in Alabama, following what appeared to be a massive heart attack in mid-flight.
Doctors in Alabama discovered that Andy was brain-dead and recommended that he be returned to Belize, where he passed away on Saturday, January 19.
Andy Palacio was born in the remote fishing village of Barranco, a seacoast settlement midway between Punta Gorda and the Sarstoon River.
He was married to Frances Castillo Palacio in a union which broke up after Andy’s first two daughters were born. Andy went on to have three children from another union - two daughters and an only son.
Barranco was Andy’s home, but he was known and welcomed wherever he went in Belize from north to south and east to west.
His was perhaps the most recognizable face in all Belize, bar none, and his fame and personality did wonders for black culture, especially Garifuna culture.
The news of his death has prompted the BBC to break with tradition and release prematurely the news that Andy Palacio had won the BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music.
Lucy Duran in her tribute to Andy, had this to say about him. “ The news of Andy’s untimely death has been an absolute shock. It seems impossible that Andy has gone.”
He was young, healthy, dynamic, at his prime. And his death is such a loss to so many people around the world, at the very moment when he was truly set to become an international star - with the incredible success of the album Watina - such a loss to his own people, the Garifuna, for whom he was such an articulate and charismatic spokesperson.
“Many of us in the world music comm-unity were moved by Andy Palacio’s acceptance speech on receiving the 2007 Womex award, in which he stated:
“I see this award not so much as a personal endorse-ment, but in fact as an extraor-dinary and sincere validation of a concept in which artists such as myself take up the challenge to make music with a higher purpose that goes beyond simple entertainment.
“I accept this award on behalf of my fellow artists from all over the world with the hope that it will serve to reinforce the sentiments that fuel cultures of resistance and pride in one’s own.”
The Director General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, on learning of Andy’s death, said:
“I wish to pay tribute to Andy Palacio, an exceptional musician and supporter of UNESCO’s ideals as an Artist for Peace...
“Andy chose to sing in Garifuna, a language at the crossroads of several linguistic legacies which was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001...
“His premature death is an immense loss for Belizean culture and for those who are open to the diversity of the world’s music.”
Sue Stuard, writing in the Guardian of the U.K., had this to say:
“The Belizean singer, songwriter and cultural campaigner Andy Palacio has died at the age of 47 from respiratory failure after a stroke and heart attack.
A generous, energetic and committed musician, he had begun to see significant results from his efforts to raise awareness of the Garifuna culture, notably through his album Watina, released last February.
“Palacio was born in the fishing village of Barranco. His father, Reuben, was a fisherman-farmer who played English folk songs and popular radio hits on harmonica and guitar, and taught his son harmonica.
“At high school in nearby Punta Gorda Andy took up the guitar and played soul, reggae and soca music. He wanted to be like Bob Marley, he admitted.
A scholarship at 18 to the Teachers Training College in Belize City, drew him into the capital’s buzzing music scene.
“Throughout his life Palacio combined his natural talents for teaching and music with occasional forays into official positions. On graduating he taught at Barranco’s Roman Catholic School and in 1980 volunteered for Nicaragua’s national literacy campaign, working with an English-speaking community.
“He was disturned by the ignorance of their ancestral language and culture.
“I was looked upon like a rare specimen who spoke Garifuna,” he recalls.“He was determined to prevent this happening in Belize, where a new electric dance beat called “punta” was sweeping the country.
“His own punta singles Watu and Ereba spread his name beyond his Garifuna fan base. As he put it:
“We had crossed over.”
“In 1981 he presented both songs on Radio Belize and taught music and songwriting to local Barranco boys.
“The 1980’s saw Palacio’s popularity as a musician and community worker intensify. His 1985 song, Bikini Party became a Punta classic. Two years later he went to London to train with the Cultural Partnership Arts Organization in studio production and electronics.
“On returning to Belize he was appointed Director of Sunrise, a community recording project dedicated to Belizean music. He recorded Come Mek We Dance with local musicians and then made some recordings for Caye Records in California.
“In 1995 Palacio met the local producer Ivan Duran who ran the Stonetree label. The album Keimuon (1995) and Til da Mawnin (1997) were produced in Belize and Havana and (1999) recorded in all four Garifuna countries. He wove roots music into many and inspired young punta-rockers to include traditional elements in their work.
In 2000 Palacio succeeded in his request that UNESCO should formally acknowledge the need to preserve the Garifuna language, music and dance.
He accepted influential posts in the education ministry’s literary campaign, in the ministry of rural development and culture and at the National Institute of Culture and History where he organized activities connected with Garifuna history and the now annual Garifuna Festival.
“In 2006 when Stonetree formed a link with the American label Cumbacha, Palacio and Duran spent four months recording by the sea.
The result, W?tina. It is a marvellous mix of modern and traditional music and poetic vignettes from Garifuna life.
“Last year Palacio was declared UNESCO’s Artist for Peace, and in October he and Duran were given the annual Womex award in Seville, (Spain) where he made a typically modest speech.
“W?tina appeared on dozens of 2007 “best of” lists in many countries and in December Palacio was chosen unanimously as winner in the forthcoming BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards.”
“Discussing the album’s success, he echoed the pleasure that the widespread appeal of his early punta singles had given him.
“It is accomplishing everything I ever dreamed of where our community was concerned. I thought it would appeal to the old people because of its mature and sophisticated sound, its exploration of the soul of Garifuna music and inclusion of ritual beats. But no, it has crossed over!”
Speaking about Andy’s W?tina album, Harrison Lawrence, a Palacio aficionado, described this latest work as “impressive, pioneering and lasting.”
“His music can be described as spiritual, a smooth synthesis of sound with fragments of post-modernized Caribbean rhythms.
“His songs, now immortalized through the legacy of its most distinguished son, chronicle the evolution of the Garinagu spiritual journey through the Caribbean.
“The album resonates with musical imagery that transcends generations, evoking pride and resilience for the preservation of Garifuna traditional art form.
“Not an academic exercise but a primeval reckoning, destined to become a modern classic of contemporary world music,” Lawrence wrote.
Eena dis ya life, eena dis ya life!
Some things you just can’t buy,
Some things you just don’t sell.
Talk about dignity; that is not for sale!
Your integrity, that is not for sale!
Your buccaneer mentality,
Causing this calamity.
Look what you done to the Maya Land;
National sovereignty, that is not for sale!
The people’s property, that is not for sale!
From the 17th century back to haunt society;
Look like yu jus neva understand,
You neva own none a dis ya land.
Wi national heritage, that is not for sale!
And fi we patronage, that is not for sale!
Yu tun politician and get a good position,
Now yu nuh look pon people dem.
No! Yu nuh look pon people dem.
Oh di almighty dollar!
Last Updated ( Friday, 25 January 2008 )