A Legend is No More

On my way back from school today I learned Andy Palacio died over the weekend in his native country Belize from a massive stroke and heart-attack. Palacio is not only the most famous Belizean, but also a national hero. I am so sadden by his death because he single-handedly brought Garifuna music to the world’s attention, and for that matter, saved Garifuna music. It is quite hard to imagine Garifuna music without Andy Palacio but I’m hopeful that he left it in good hands.

andypalacio_cdcover.jpg

What made me even more saddened is the fact that his last album, Wátina, released in 2007, was a masterpiece. I don’t think there is any word that describes how beautiful Watina is, but I’m glad he left the world with his music, his efforts of preserving Garifuna culture/music and his humanitarianism.

Now knowing his death will make me cry next time I listen to the last song on the album called “Ámuñegü” (In Times to Come), in which Andy reflects about Garifuna music, his fear of Garifuna culture and language becoming extinct.

UPDATE: Below is the English translation of Ámuñegü, thanks to Notes From the Barn

I wonder who will bake cassava* bread for us in times to come
I wonder who will speak with me in Garifuna in times to come
I wonder who will sing Aruumahani** songs with me in times to come
I wonder who will heal us with the dugu** in times to come

The time has come for it to be preserved
The time has come for it to be taught
The time has come for it to be preserved
Lest we lose it altogether

Our ancestors fought to remain Garifuna
Why must we be the ones to lose our culture?
Let’s not do it

Parents, please listen to me.
Teach the children Our language and our songs; our beliefs and our dances

The time has come for it to be preserved
The time has come for it to be taught
The time has come for it to be preserved
Lest we lose it altogether

Lest we lose it altogether

* Cassava bread is the staple food of the Garifuna and it is derived from the manioc root
** Aruumahani is a genre of Garifuna music in which men link their hands and sing a capella. It is a dying art form.
*** The dugu is the traditional Garifuna healing ceremony in which
the extended family comes together to make offerings of food, drinks,
music and dance to the ancestral spirits. It is presided over by a
spiritual healer (buyei) and lasts for a few days.
                         *******************************

To you Andy, thanks for leaving us with your music and for preserving Garifuna culture and music.

Rest in peace.

For those who do not know about Andy Palacio and Garifuna music, here’s a video that’ll help.

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Categories: Honorary Acknowledgement, Music | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “A Legend is No More

  1. Om, I was shocked by Andy Palacio’s death. He was so young but I gather when it is your time, there is no escaping it. Garifuna music can be captivating and Palacio is a legend, despite his short life.

  2. Om

    True, we all have to leave when our time comes. The traditional Garifuna music (Paranda) is much close to traditional African music than anything else, and that is why I think it is so captivating.

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