I recorded David in Trujillo, Honduras. Trujillo was the first place I ever visited in the Caribbean, the first place I ever met a Garifuna, and the first place I carried a recording device with me while traveling. It was my wish to record some of the local Garifuna music in Trujillo, but I really had no idea how to go about doing it. Though I eventually bumbled my way through some tracks I am sure an actual ethnomusicologist would have found my approach utterly inept at best, and ethically suspect at worst. David (whose last name I never even got) was, I must confess, very much a local, down-and-out kinda character, and he likely saw me and my dollar bills coming a mile away. Nonetheless, he was generous with his knowledge of Garifuna musical culture. One afternoon, I recall, we spent making maracas the traditional way, sitting on the remains of an old cement block wall on the Trujillo beach and scraping jicaro shells with bits of broken glass. As far as his musical abilities go, have a listen … this is a stunning recording.
(Recorded Spring 1998, and I have no idea about the name of the song or the name of the maracas player, a friend of David’s whom he stopped as he was passing by on the street)
This is a wonderful little recording of Conrad Lino and his friend Ebus “Tep-Tep” Agustin, made one hot afternoon in Hopkins. It was a fun session, with more than a few beers involved if I recall, and I really enjoy the playful interplay between the two vocalists in this track – “this here music’s from Belize!” The rhythm is a charikanari, or chakanari, which I believe is a dance most often performed during the Christmas season.
(Recorded May 17, 2001)
One last recording, a classic in the Garifuna world, titled Sunn Hilumuti Wadagara Garanagu Wagiya and translated as Whereever We Go, We Are Garinagu.* The song is considered the national anthem of the Garifuna, and from the title alone it is easy to see why given the hard history of the Garifuna people and their diaspora.
*”Garinagu” is an alternative word for Garifuna. I believe it is the more proper but less common way the people refer to themselves in noun form.
The singers were Senovia Nicholas, Julia Nicholas, Sheraine Petillo, Philip ‘Subas’ Nicholas, John Flores.
(Recorded March 23, 2002)