Talented guitarist and storyteller Natividad Obando will create a Dia de Los Finados, or Day of the Dead altar, dedicated to legendary Belizean musicians, including Garifuna leader Andy Palacio, paranda icon Paul Nabor, and the “King of Brukdown” Mr. Peters . Mrs. Obando will prepare the food offerings. The couple will share insights about the mestizo community of Belize through stories and songs.
Marta Chiac will demonstrate each step of the process to create a jippi jappa basket in the Maya tradition, from the transformation of the raw material harvested in the forest to the final hand-woven product.
Carnival costume designer David Matus has been involved with Belize’s Carnival for over eighteen years, and has created countless costume designs to represent Belize both locally and internationally. His lively and award winning costumes will be displayed inside of the Pavilion.
78 years-old Florencio Mess is the last harp maker to maintain the centuries-old tradition of Maya K’ekchi’ harp. Florencio and his son Hilario Mess will demonstrate the making of string instruments, using rudimentary carving tools and horse hair as strings. The duo will make special appearances on the Belize stage. Florencio Mess, whose music and craft is an important part of Belize’s cultural heritage, will be interviewed on the Alison Minor Music Heritage Stage on April 30 at 3:15 PM.
Introduced to the craft by his father at age 12, Elmer Panti began selling works on the bank of the river near the Mayan site of Xunantunich. Panti will demonstrate the precise technique of carving slate with motifs borrowed from various indigenous Maya sites in Belize.
Joseph will paint a live mural outside the Pavilion over the seven days of the Festival. With parents who immigrated from Belize and Mexico, Joseph Lopez grew up on the West Bank of the Mississippi River. His parents’ strong work ethic and humble resolve for a better life inspire his art. Joseph learned to appreciate the beauty in ‘found’ objects and secondhand goods. Joseph’ s mother always made efforts to keep Joseph and his younger brother connected to their Belizean heritage. When they visited family in Belize, Kriol, was spoken in the kitchen, and the children enjoyed the freedom to walk the streets of Corozal and swim in the bay. Joseph is proud to have such a beautifully diverse country as part of his culture and heritage.
At the festival, Talla Walla Creole Drummers Wilford Felix and Musa Shaeed demonstrate the process of making creole drums out of coconut tree trunks and bamboo native to the village of Gales Point Manatee, as well as garifuna drums made of Belizean mahogany. Once they are finished carving the wood, they skin the drums using goat skin and add strings or wire.