Auditions are being held for local artists around the country as Belize prepares to be the main focus in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival coming up in April 2016. Belize’s inclusion into this world renowned event was done through efforts of Ivan Duran, President of the Music Industry Association of Belize (MIAB). Belize’s Musical Ambassador, Shyne Barrow spoke to Love News about the festival, as Duran is currently out of the country.
“The New Orleans Jazz Festival has been around for about forty six years and it started back in the sixties and about half a million people attend this seven days of celebration. It starts on the weekend and they have a wide array of music; Gospel, Cajun, Blues, R&B, Rap. They have so many different stages that showcase all of this different talent and they have a part of the festival where they feature a country. In the past they featured Panama and this year they want to feature Belize. Ivan Duran told me that they reached out to him and it started from there and the representatives are here in the country now and they have seen the talent perform and are finalizing exactly who they will select and they want about 50 musicians including band and performers and it’s a very exciting and tremendous opportunity to showcase the culture and music of Belize.”
Barrow says there is a schedule for the auditions around the country and those are being attended by representatives from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
“MIAB, Ivan Duran is MIAB, they are the Music Industry Association of Belize; they are their members as well a general role call on their website to invite artists to participate. So everyone I believe was presented with the opportunity to come and demonstrate their talent and at the end of the day the people from the Jazz Festival will decide who they would like to have perform at the event.”
“Are auditions still ongoing or has it closed?”
“I believe in the city they have finished but what they are doing is they are travelling throughout the country to look at different talents. They will be in Dangriga tomorrow and Thursday and today they are in Benque checking out different people. So they are traveling throughout the country looking for different talent and then deciding who they would like to have at the festival. “
This festival is known to have performances by famous artists like Elton John, Marron 5, Jon Bon Jovi, among others. So, just how did Belize get in the middle of all this? According to Barrow, the powers that be from the festival visited Belize and fell in love.
“Ivan Duran was the person they contacted and the owner of the Festival visited Belize and was smitten with the culture and the art and it was really something he was passionate about and once they came here they fell in love with everything that they saw and it is going to be an extraordinary opportunity to showcase Belizean culture and music and we really look forward to this happening. It’s going to be a major presence throughout the entire festival because we are the featured country which is something they plan to do with or without the support of GOB but thank God we have the support of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture. It’s going to be a great opportunity especially for the cultural exchange for our artists to go there and see other great artists. They have had people like Maroon 5, John Legend, The Eagles, Elton John, Bon Jovi. Everyone performs at this festival it is one of the most heralded and renowned festivals in the world so it’s going to be extraordinary.”
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is slated to take place from April 22 through to May 1.