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Punta Explosion!
9/19/04

Garifuna Culture & History

The Punta Explosion is a celebration of the Garifuna community’s pride and culture. 

In Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Caribbean Islands there is the Garifuna culture with approximately 500,000 people. The Garifuna are descendants of Kalinagu who were in the Guianas of South America. Celebrations and ceremony are important in the Garifuna culture and reinforce the cultural unity and spiritual beliefs of the Garifuna. When a celebration takes place with the entire village, friends and relatives come together.

These traditionally celebrations include special music and songs: work songs, hymns, lullabies, ballads, and healing songs are popular. The African influence is heard with complex drum rhythms and call-response patterns in songs.

Music, street dances, and costumes

Dances are a common form of expression in the Garifuna culture. The Paranda is a slow dance by women who shuffle in a circle accompanied with hand movements.

Punta is a dance competition done by couples, which includes flirtatious movements. In Belize, " punta rock" originated and is popular along with the "cungo" a dance influenced by the West Indian reggae. Some people make their living by selling their crafted items: baskets, drums and hats, wood furniture and canoes.  There is much feasting on cassava bread, plantains, rice, beans, cheese, and port wine.

Garifuna Music

"Punta, Punta Rock" is considered the mainstream music of Belize and Honduras- since 1998 Garifuna artists have been performing at Linclon Center NY.

History

Many Gaifuna people have worked for the United Fruit Company in Central America, a company whose headquarters were in Newton, MA. After United Fruit was broken up, many Garifuna people move to the United States and brought their families. They fought in WWII and other wars. Gaifuna Translators work for the court system in Los Angles and NY. The Garifuna are considers as a community in the Public School System.

Herded aboard slave ships in West Africa, a group of Garífuna forebears were likely destined for New World mines and plantations when they wrecked off St. Vincent in 1635. They found refuge with the island’s Carib Indians, immigrants from South America. The two peoples blended through marriage, creating the Garífuna culture: Caribbean fishing and farming traditions with a mixture of South American and African music, dance, and spirituality. Exuberant drumbeats punctuate virtually every Garífuna celebration and evoke African and South American roots.

The Garifuna are a unique cultural and ethnic group. They first appeared in this area over 300 years ago, when escaped and shipwrecked slaves mixed with the native Caribs.

The untold story of their ancestors' resistance to slavery is described by the descendants of these courageous Garifuna forebears. Punta Explosion celebrates the continuity of Garifuna culture, We learn of their unique history, language, food preparation, spirituality, music, and dance to gather here and celebrate in explosions of pulsating drums and chants from ancient roots.

Contact

Loba Production 
108 Chestnut Ave #2 
Jamaica Plain, MA  02130
(617) 522-1860
vausua@hotmail.com