Ethnomusicologist Jacob Edgar, head of music research and product develop- ment at the independent record label Putumayo World Music  in the last years, has founded a new record label called Cumbancha , a „Cuban word of West African derivation that refers to an impromptu party or musical jam session“ (Cumbacha). The first release was the album „Â¡Ay Caramba!“ by Ska Cubano , the second and this time worldwide release an Israeli cross-cultural collabora- tive called The Idan Raichel Project . For 2007 new releases such as „Na Afriki“ by Dobet Gnahore from the Ivory Coast and „Afriki“ by Malian singer Habib KoitÃ© are already produced. But what is hitting the World Music Charts at this moment is „WÃ¡tina“ by Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective.
„A stunning new album featuring an all-star, multigenerational lineup of musicians from the African-Amerindian Garifuna communities of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Filled with enchanting rhythms, powerful melodies and a deep soulfulness that recalls Cape Verdean or Afro-Peruvian music, WÃ¡tina serves as a stunning introduction to the music of this unique and inspiring culture.“ (Stonetree Records )
Andy Palacio is one of the most popular musicians in Belize with a deep commitment to preserving his unique GarÃfuna culture. He was born in the coastal village of Barranco listening to traditional Garifuna music as well as imported sounds from Honduras, Guatemala, the Caribbean, and the United States. As being GarÃfuna, a cultural blend of West Africans and Island Caribs of St. Vincent in the Lesser Antilles, „Palacio became a leading figure in a growing renaissance of young Garifuna intellectuals who were writing poetry and songs in their native language“ (Cumbancha). After several years of performing in worldwide cultural festivals, supposedly it was Belizean pro- ducer Ivan Duran, founder of the local record label Stonetree Records , who convinced Palacio to focus on less commercial forms of GarÃfuna music like Punta Rock, an upbeat popular dance form based on GarÃfuna rhythms. After searching for some of the best GarÃfuna musicians throughout Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala the ensemble The Garifuna Collective, made up of e.g. Paul Nabor and Aurelio Martinez, two famous GarÃfuna voices from Belize and Honduras, was born. „Rather then focusing on danceable styles like punta rock, the Collective explores the more soulful side of Garifuna music, such as the Latin-influenced paranda, and the sacred dÃ¼gÃ¼, punta and gunjei rhythms“ (Cumbancha). It seems to have been a good decision since this debut album „WÃ¡tina“ of Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective is crowned with success so far.
„The meeting point where ancient meets modern, where acoustic slips effortlessly into and out of electric, this album reaches backwards and stretches forwards, defying the listener to pin it down. And yet, far from being disturbing, it is endlessly satisfying and soothing.“ (Observer Music Monthly , 18th March 2007)
For other Belizean and Punta Rock music go to Stonetree Records . Richt now simply enjoy this wonderful song and clip by Andy & the Collectives:
For more information also watch the WÃ¡tina: A Look Behind the Music of Andy Palacio , look for Andy Palacio’s Tour Dates  or read the story to the album at Stonetree Records  or at Cumbancha . Or go and buy  …