Saturday, November 14, 2009

Houston, Texas establishes "Andy Palacio Day"

Singer, Song writer and champion of the Garifuna people Andy Vivian Palacio will be recognized by the City of Houston, Texas on his birthday December 2. The day will be known as Andy Palacio Day. The City of Houston recognizes Andy Palacio’s contributions to Garifuna music and the legacy of his life’s work on Garifuna culture.

The Mayor of the City of Houston, Bill White, will make the proclamation on that day. According to White, Andy Palacio left an important mark on contemporary history, and claims that the rich cultural traditions are popular with many Houston citizens.

“Andy Palacio, of Belize, was a notable example of a poet, musician and activist,” White said. The Mayor recalled that Andy Palacio was the first musical artist from Belize to have a music video on international television, and he popularized Garifuna music and promoted awareness about Garifuna people, through his art form.

Andy Palacio received the award for “Best New Artist” at the Caribbean Music Awards in 1991 and was awarded the BBC Award for World Music in the Americas in 2008. He was born on December 2, 1960, and was raised in the coastal village of Barranco, working briefly as a teacher before turning to music. He died on January 19, 2008.

Palacio was appointed Belizean Cultural Ambassador and Deputy Administrator of the National Institute of Culture and History in 2004, and devoted himself to the preservation of Garifuna music and culture. In 2007, Palacio’s years of work with the Stonetree’s Garifuna All-Stars project reached its high point with the release of the acclaimed Wátina album. Wátina featured a multigenerational crew of Garifuna musicians from Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras (including octegenarian singer Paul Nabor).

With the success of the album Wátina, Palacio was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace and won the prestigious WOMEX Award in 2007. In all, he released more than five original albums beginning with Nabi in 1990. He also travelled widely promoting and performing his music.

On January 17, 2008, Palacio suddenly fell ill with two apparent “stroke-like seizures.” According to a press release from Stonetree Records, he died in Belize at 21:00 hours on January 19 of “a massive and extensive stroke to the brain, a heart attack and respiratory failure.”

The Garifuna will be celebrating Garifuna Settlement Day, next week Thursday, November 19, with the theme from Andy Palacio album WATINA: Gunfuli wamei hayumahan wayunagu, which means: Let us answer the call of our ancestors.

No comments:

Post a Comment