Umalali - The Garifuna Women's Project
In 1635, two boats loaded with West African slaves were shipwrecked on the shores of the Caribbean isle of St. Vincent. It was the beginning of one of the most unique and threatened cultures in the Americas … the Garifuna. With a distinct language and traditions, the total population of Garifunas in the world today is only about 250 thousand. And, on January 19th, 2008 they lost one musician who had accomplished so much in helping them retain their identity. A heart attack and stroke took Andy Palacio at the age of 47, but his recording with the Garifuna Collective stands as one of world music’s most inspired achievements. Watina became one of the most critically acclaimed world music albums since the Buena Vista Social Club. While his untimely passing has shocked fans around the globe, his work continues through a new recording project, exposing the songs of the Garifuna women The disc showcases their soaring and distinctly West African sounding harmonies. As with Watina, the songs are a celebration of day to day life but they sparkle with emotional weight. Don't expect an Alan Lomax field recording either. Palacio was a gifted producer with a modern sensibility that keeps the tunes fresh and interesting.
Key Tracks: Mérua, Barübana Yagien, Fuleisei