PostHeaderIcon Music, Friends, and Extending Boundaries.

Isani CayetanoThis one is for Isani.  Isani Cayetano is our newest team member in the BCM IT Field Support group. 

Isani moved here with his wife Joy who is a first-year med student at Baylor.  Isani is from Belize and comes from Garifuna heritage.  He has a strong sense of his family, where he comes from, and who he is.  I admire him and we’ve gotten many chances to speak about his life and what makes him him.  One of the things he introduced to me is music from the Garifuna culture. 

Some “Quick Background” for those like me, who had never heard of the Garifuna before.  They are a group of people who descended from African Slaves and the Native Carribean Indians, mainly from Saint Vincent where they started out.  They have struggled through their last 200 hundred years of History.  They were caught in a territorial war between France and Britain and ended up being forcibly relocated to Honduras.  But to this day though the Garifuna People have spread from there to Belize, Roatan, Guatemala, and other Central American/Caribbean Nations.  They have their own language that is a mixture of Arawakan, French, Spanish, and others.  In listening to their music, I hear so many different cultures all in one very beautiful expression.

Garifuna Collective HouseTheir culture was in such decline that UNESCO declared the Garifuna Culture and Language Endangered.  It’s estimated that the population is 200,000-300,000 thousand Garifuna and that only 90,000 people still speak the  language.  To quote National Geographic: “The Garífuna were selected because of the vibrancy of their language, music, and dance. One tradition that incorporates all of these aspects is the dügü, a dance which Garífuna use to summon the spirits of their ancestors in an effort to resolve problems in their communities. This passionate ritual, which may last uninterrupted for three days and requires the attendance of every family member, even those who live outside Central America, promotes unity and peace among the Garífuna.”

Isani’s Uncle is Andy Palacio.  Though Andy recently passed, he was a long time evangelist for the Garifuna culture and keeping it alive. He worked hard and brought together other Garifuna musicians and they started creating music and recording it so that others could experience it.  They were called “Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective“.  I’ve been listening to their music from the CD Watina and wanted to share it with you.  I would prefer that people go out and purchase the music, so I’ll include one song I found on the web and an album cover and link to the site.

Watina Cover ArtYagane means canoe and is the story of an old man who has fallen out of his boat and is calling to his canoe to come get him.

YAGANE : [audio:]

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to learn more Isani.

IMAGE INFO:  “I don’t own any of the images I used.  Image one is of Isani and I pulled it from his Facebook page.  The second image is of Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective.  The Third image is the CD Cover for Watina.

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