Latest news »Aurelio guest of honour at Garifuna-American Heritage Month

Photos: Sofia Verzbolovskis

On Saturday night, 14th March, at the launch of the 7th annual Garifuna-American Heritage Month, Aurelio was guest of honour at a night celebrating his contribution to the preservation and global profile of Garifuna culture.

A Musical Tribute to Aurelio Martinez celebrated Aurelio's thirty-year career and took place at the Hostos Centre for the Arts & Culture in New York City, hosted by the Garifuna Coalition USA.

This year is the 218th anniversary of the Forcible Transfer of the Garifuna People - from St Vincent and the Grenadines to their settlement in Central America - a history marked by the yearly events of Garifuna-American Heritage Month.

New York City is home to the largest Garifuna population outside of Central America, with a community of over 200,000 people. The Garifuna are an African/Caribbean/Arawak culture who originate from Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua; despite their Spanish surnames, their culture and history are completely distinct from other Afro-American and Latino groups. The tribute event last weekend marked the launch of a strategy promoting Garifuna culture, creativity and sustainable development.

On the night itself Aurelio was presented with several awards, including one from Real World Records that we were delighted to be able to give. AfroPop Worldwide's Sean Barlow and Banning Eyre presented Aurelio with the honorary gift on behalf of Real World Records. Sean even greeting the crowd in Garifuna to a rapturous reception!

Over 1500 people - fans, family, friends and dignitaries - packed the Hostos Center for a night that saw traditional dance and drumming pageantry, a punta rock tribute to Aurelio and also a punta rock set from the man himself. Aurelio also took the stage to deliver a brilliant set of his own crossover music as well, which ended with all the other artists on stage in a mass sing-a-long.

An important, well-deserved and joyous night.

Many congratulations to Aurelio; here's to many more years!

Published 16th Mar 2015, 4:54pm »

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