The Garifuna Collective is perhaps the only music group that has represented Belize on several continents. The group has been performing for more than 20 years and its last album was its tribute to Andy Palacio in 2014, Ayó. Five years later, the band is on tour in Europe playing the old hits as it has just left London and continues across Europe on a six week tour. The band has been cultivating new musical notes that are now ready bear fruit. Today we spoke to Emilio Sàsamu Thomas, a member of the Garifuna Collective about a new song and music video that is premiering this week.
Jose Sanchez: “The Garifuna collective is releasing an album called Aba on the 15th of September and one of the songs was called Hamala. The featured artist on that track is Emilio Sasamu Thomas who has been with the collective since 2013.”
Emilio Sasamu Thomas – Musician: “I fell in love with music when I used to hang around my cousins that were my age more or less and I was like a rapper. I used to sing and then I fell in love with the drums so when I went into high school that is when I really did a lot of drumming: the marching band, Garifuna drumming, stuff like that and then after that I started to play the guitar, piano and all the other instruments that I play. Hamala was written in 2015 and when I took it to the studio we started to develop it as a group. We did a lot of work, hours of work on Hamala, over a period of a couple of years in order to put all the pieces together.”
Jose Sanchez: “The video is being released this Friday but we got a sneak peek at it. Filmmaker and friend Jeremey Louis explain why it was important for the music video to reflect the simple life in Hopkins.”
Jeremy Lewis Filmmaker: “With Hamala I think I kind of helped with the writing at some point and I think the idea basically stemmed from that particular moment when he had the idea of the song. I think when he had the song also, he actually had the images with the song already because basically, the kite concept is his concept. I just took it and made it what it is, gave it life. The social situation in my community, basically I think that would be the fundamental thing because I am from Hopkins. Right now there is like a transition from tradition to like mainstream that we are living. We are influenced by like tourism so basically, obviously the culture is being lost, language almost gone so in a sense this music video is kind of like a major kind of stepping stone towards something greater than what we are used to so basically right now I hope and wish this video would influence a lot of people, especially imagination wise for people to reach their goals.”
Emilio Sasamu Thomas – Musician: “Hamala means to let him fly, let him fly in the way of letting him take off, like a bird taking off elevating into the world. Of children how they need the help of the community in order for them to learn the basic principles and disciplines in order for them to go into the world and be like a magnet, get a piece of everything.
Jose Sanchez: “Aba which means one drops on the world music charts on September the 15th. Jose Sanchez for Love News.
Emilio Sàsamu Thomas will join the collective on the US and Canada tour in July.