Magazine article New Internationalist

Umalali

Magazine article New Internationalist

Umalali

Article excerpt

Umalali

by The Garifuna Women's Project (Cumbancha CMB-CD-6 CD)

Along the coastline of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, live the Garifuna, a community comprising the descendants of Carib and Arawak Indians indigenous to that area and of Africans, escaping enslavement in the West Indies. Speaking an Arawak-based language with a significant import of Spanish, Creole and a bit of English, the Garifuna are not an isolated people - you hear this in the Afro-Caribbean lilt of the music on Umalali. But what is interesting is how female-centred their music is: women compose the songs that sing the days through. It is this aspect that's so well expressed in the first album released by the Garifuna Women's Project in its own right. Umalali ('Voice') is well named.

In instrumental terms, the album is pleasingly direct: guitars, drums - central to Garifuna music - and percussive instruments, a smattering of brass. …

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