With its Spanish-speaking neighbors to the South and West and the laid-back Caribbean to the East, the country of Belize features a unique cultural mélange. We are excited to share Belize’s best-kept secrets at the Festival this year, by inviting Garifuna, Creole, Maya and Mestizo artists to illustrate the country’s exceptional range of musical styles and traditions.
Punta rock, brukdown, paranda and other rhythms from Belize will take over the Fair Grounds with performances on several Festival stages and on the Belize Stage inside the Belize Pavilion. During the first weekend, enjoy the Creole drums of Talla Walla Vibrations, the hip hop-infused soca sounds of TR Shine, and the soulful melodies of The Garifuna Collective. During the second weekend, Sweet Pain led by Chico Ramos and Supa G will present Belize’s infectiously danceable punta-rock, which fuses Garifuna traditional rhythms and percussions with electric guitar, synth and drum machine. Bredda “DAVID” & Tribal Vibes, Wageirale Drummers, and Henry Martinez will also perform.
Step inside the Belize Pavilion to hear the ethereal harp melodies of master Maya harpist Florencio Mess, the Creole drums of Talla Walla Vibrations, and the traditional Garifuna songs and dances of the Wageirale Drummers. Artists demonstrating their process inside the Pavilion include muralist Pedro Cruz, Creole drum-makers Emmeth Young and Wilford Felix, Maya slate carver Elmer Panti, jippi jappa basket maker Marta Chiac, and carnival costume designer David Matus. Natividad Obando will create a Dia de Los Finados, or Day of the Dead altar, dedicated to several legendary Belizean musicians.
Outside the Belize Pavilion, Garifuna women will demonstrate the preparation and baking of cassava bread, a staple food of the Garifuna community. They will show the traditional two–day process used to extract the toxins from the cassava root. The cassava bread will be baked on a comal – or metal pan – over a fire hearth daily, and the audience will be invited to sample it.