Lándini: Track by Track

Honduran artist Aurelio Martinez credits his mother Maria with introducing him to the basics of Garifuna songcraft and she also provides the inspiration for this, his third album. Lándini is collection of Garifuna songs, both new and old, passionately performed and filled with teasing humour —be they meditations on relationships or chronicles of community life.

1. Sañanaru

(I Can’t Handle Her)

I can’t handle her character, I don’t know what to do with her and all her defects. I’ll just park her there, like a canoe.

This song could be about a love affair, or a difficult moment between relatives, but it gets to the heart of the bittersweet difficulties of close relationships, with music that straddles the upbeat and the melancholy with typical Garifuna grace.

 

2. Nando

Leonardo

Please dress me up so that I can look beautiful when Nando comes back home.

Co-written with Maria, this tune chides unfaithful women who get into mischief while their men are at work. The singer, however, remains devoted and loyal, waiting eagerly for her love’s return.

3. Milaguru

The Miracle

Captain, please hold the wheel so you can land in Guanaja and save the life of all your passengers. Captain, do everything you can so you can bring us back to our families tonight.

Inspired by a tragic ferry accident in the 1990s that killed everyone aboard, this song, written by a grieving relative of one of the victims, implores the ferry captain take care as he guides his ship.

4. Nafagua

I Will Try

I cannot believe it. I will try and speak to him to see if he can wake up from his coffin.

A traditional song made up of several short vignettes, “Nafagua” describes the sorrow of a loved one’s sudden death, as well as the return of a long-lost traveler.

5. Nari Golu

My Golden Tooth

What did you bring me from Porto Barrios? You brought me these gold teeth. Now please buy me a new pair of shoes, and give me some money for a dress, so I can look good and show my girlfriends.

A light-hearted, humorous song by Maria, filled with good-natured teasing.

 

6. Lándini

Landing

My boat is parked here and the people have gone to the bush. Look at me here, I’m waiting here by the river. Why is the plantation so far away? Why do we have to go so far to reap the food to feed our families?

A song about one of the main meeting places in Plaplaya, the river landing where villagers dock their boats, and a meditation on the difficulties of making a living.

7. Lirun Weyu

Sad Day

It’s a really sad day. None of my friends have even brought me a plate of food. Mom, I know I’m useless now here, just lying in the hospital. When I die no one will care…Bury me by the beach in my town.

A newer song by Shelton Petillo, a young Garifuna composer in Belize, this tale of neglect and sadness captures a frequent theme in Garifuna songs, the feeling of being forgotten and abandoned by your loved ones.

8. Durugubei Mani

Evil People

They say there is authority and law, but that’s not true. What did I do, that they want to hang me?

This traditional song laments the singer’s sense of helplessness and injustice in the face of the community’s condemnation.

9. Irawini

Midnight

I hear the guitar from far away. I hear Aurelio and his guitar visiting midnight.

In this poetic account, Maria paints a vivid picture of her late-night vigils waiting for her musician son to return home. She hears his guitar first and knows he’s on his way.

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10. Funa Tugudirugu

Unborn Child

Every day that passes I see you with this sickness. This will bring you problems. It will always bring you babies. This is a bad disease that is going around town.

This song addresses the “sickness” many girls succumb to in Garifuna communities: pregnancy at a tender age. The song advises young women to think carefully about their choices before taking on the responsibilities of single motherhood.

11. Nitu

Older Sister

I love my big sister, but if anyone touches her, the peace is over. Just because you’re older than me doesn’t give you the right to insult me. Never be ashamed of me, and I won’t be ashamed of you.

A traditional take on the many sides of sibling relationships, touching on protectiveness, rivalry, and a longing for reciprocity.

12. Chichanbara

Ginger

Ginger is medicine for my body. I’ve been in love with this woman a long time, but she won’t accept me.

Garifuna often use ginger medicinally, and singers like to chew on the root before performing. However, even the potent plant can’t help the singer of this song, composed by Aurelio, who bemoans women’s narrow focus on money and possessions.

Featured album

  • Lándini

    Aurelio

    Released 15 September 2014

    Aurelio credits his mother Maria with introducing him to the basics of Garifuna songcraft and she also provides the inspiration for this album. A collection of Garifuna songs, both new and old, passionately performed and filled with teasing humour be they meditations on relationships or chronicles of community life.

By Trista Newyear Yeager

Written with Ivan Duran

Main image photo credit: Richard Holder

Published on Sat, 18 October 14

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