A replay of Melissa Block's interview is available now on NPR
Other Tributes Received Today
My words are inadequate to express my feelings about the shocking
loss of Andy Palacio. He meant a lot to me, and I know he meant much
more to the international Garifuna community. But this is what I can
Please, let's do what we can to forward his mission.
Remembering Andy Palacio
[Something] Andy told me about his experience in Nicaragua has made his untimely passing so much more painful. Andy gave a little laugh when he thought about how when he was younger, he didn’t mind dying for a cause like for the Nicaraguan struggle, and how foolish that thought is to a more mature person. Of
course, he said, it’s making the most out of one’s life that truly
That Andy’s life was cut so tragically short just when his music and
his message had begun to reach a long-deserved worldwide audience is
still unfathonable...But even though 2007 became Andy’s banner year, it
was also the result of a life’s hard work...
As I traveled throughout Belize, it was clear how much Andy’s work
meant to that small country, especially its Garifuna minority. He was
particularly fortunate to have a kindred spirit in Ivan who not only
shared his artistic vision, but had the know how to translate it all
to the finished recorded product. A number of Garifuna advocates,
like the Cayetano family, who helped show how deep the social and
political ramifications of Andy’s music and message ran, especially
in such villages as Barranco, Hopkins and Dangriga.
I couldn’t have been more pleased that much of the conclusions I
reached in my 2003 thesis had become obsolete by 2007. While Andy’s
quotes about preparing for Watina, made me optimistic when I wrote
them down, it’s obviously much better to see what happens when the
best of those hopes are exceeded. By the time Andy was touring the
world and accepting awards on the heels of Watina, Nyasha Laing was
preparing a documentary film on Garifuna culture from her base in New
York and in Chicago Emery Joe Yost had been working on an informative
instructional DVD on Garifuna drumming. And in Belize, Ivan Duran had
put the finishing touches on a disc documenting Garifuna women
singers. Meanwhile, other international Garifuna artists like Aurelio
Martinez from Honduras and Rhodel Castillo (a Belizean Chicagoan)
began ascending to larger stages.
Last summer, Andy performed at Chicago’s Millennium Park. I spoke
with him for a while before his set and he seemed understandably
tired, as he had been in the midst of that exhaustive tour. And it
soon became apparent that he had been storing up his energy for his
terrific performance. Not only did the musical rapport soar among the
collective’s guitarists and percussionists, but Andy’s exchanges with
Paul Nabor charmed the hundreds in the park. Afterwards, Andy was
clearly elated at the reception, and so was the concert’s organizer,
Michael Orlove. When I spoke to briefly to Michael and Andy, Michael
said to Andy, “Aaron’s our white Garifuna.” Andy laughed and told me
that there’s a secret initiation process. To which I laughed, and
said, “Oh, no, you guys aren’t gonna break out the paddles are you?”
We were all smiles then, but I can’t help but wonder what I should
have said if I had any idea that would be the last words I’d say to
him. Still, the last image I have of Andy is of him beaming in the
As I heard about Andy’s sudden demise I tried to sum up his
importance to a colleague of mine who hadn’t heard his music. I said
something along the lines of, “Andy was as important to his people as
Bob Marley was to Jamaica.” It was an inadequate, inaccurate
statement. To be sure, Marley influence was profound, especially on
musicians like Andy. But Andy had a more difficult role, as he did
took on more duties than what could ordinarily be expected of a
musician. He was also an active preservationist, government official,
devoted teacher and, of course, a tireless interviewee. At all times,
he knew that wherever he went, he took with him, in person or in
spirit, a multitude that knew they were no longer on anyone’s
margins. As he wrote in the song “Amunegu” on Watina:
Ageindaguatian wayunagu lun habagaridun kei Garinagu
Wagia me san aferidirei wagaburi, madugawamei
Our ancestors fought to remain Garifuna
Why must we be the ones to lose our culture?
Let’s not do it
In the 21st century, the Garifuna couldn’t have asked for a better
champion than Andy Palacio.
Associate Editor, DownBeat
From: Ivan Duran [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 12:19 AM
Subject: BREAKING NEWS! Andy Palacio WINS BBC AWARD
I received this email today allowing us to announce that Andy is the winner of the 2008 BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music in the Americas category.
Andy and I received news in December that he had won the award but we were asked to keep it strictly confidential until the award ceremony in April, Andy was scheduled to perform at the ceremony in London after receiving his award. I remember Andy being extremely happy the day we got the news and I know it was hard for him not to be able to share the news with his friends and fans in Belize.
Thank you to the BBC Radio 3 media partners for letting us break the news of this great honor for Belize in time for his tribute on Friday January 25th.
Stonetree Records / email@example.com
The partners in the BBC Radio 3 Awards For World Music have decided that it would be appropriate to release the information that Andy is the winner in the Americas category of the 2008 Awards, so that you may if you wish make this known locally and at his funeral. Normally this would not have been announced until April 10th along with all the other winners, but we all felt that these were truly exceptional circumstances that merited breaking the BBC embargo in this isolated case
I've attached a copy of the announcement which is going out now, and copied the text below (the main Doc also includes verbatim the text of your own official release).
Andy Palacio wins prestigious BBC Award
The tragic death on Saturday 19th January of Andy Palacio, the much-loved Garifuna musician from Belize, has made it appropriate to reveal that he is the winner of the Americas category in the 2008 BBC Radio 3 Awards For World Music.
Although decided by the jury in December, the official announcement of all the winners is not due to be made by the BBC until 10th April. However in these exceptional circumstances, the news of this should be released now so that a full measure of his achievements and the regard in which he was held by the world music community can be recorded along with the many other tributes now being made to him. When this is heard at his State funeral in Belize on Friday, his people will know that this Garifuna musician, with his marginalised indigenous culture, had been chosen as the best artist of all the Americas.
BBC Radio 3 presenter Lucy Duran, who is to broadcast a tribute to Andy Palacio this coming Saturday, has commented: "The news of Andy Palacio's untimely death has been an absolute shock. It seems impossible that Andy has gone. He was young, healthy, dynamic, at his prime. And 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 Wátina - such a loss to his own people, the Garifuna, for whom he was such an articulate and charismatic spokesman. Such a personal loss to Ivan Duran - fellow Belizean musician and music producer, who worked tirelessly for so many years with Andy on making Garifuna music better known, culminating in Wátina, which has an anthemic quality to it and has been for many in the world music industry the best album of 2007. This is quite simply heartbreaking news."
Many of us in the world music community 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 endorsement but in fact as an extraordinary 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 those sentiments that fuel cultures of resistance and pride in one's own."
We are proud to make this announcement that Andy Palacio has won the Americas Award in the 2008 BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music, though can only wish that it were made in very different circumstances.
fRoots magazine, Songlines magazine, Rough Guide To World Music, Womex
-- Ian Anderson
Editor: fRoots Magazine
the candle is out
the light remains
chekist1917 (1 day ago)
rest in peace Andy
jackeline24 (2 days ago)
No se fue esta con nosotros, Centroamerica lo llora, pero sigue aquí en su casa, en el mar, en las palmeras, su vos vibra en el tambor garifuna, una guitarra en medio de nuestro cálido Caribe! que viva mi CENTROAMERICA que DIOS te tenga en su gloria ANDY.