Peni Punta Gorda Hosts 18th Annual Battle of the Drums Celebration

Peni Punta Gorda Hosts 18th Annual Battle of the Drums Celebration

Over the weekend, Peni Punta Gorda was ground zero for the 18th annual Battle of the Drums competition. The celebration of Garifuna music and culture was held at the Punta Gorda Sporting Auditorium, with four battling for the top spot. The teams that participated this year were: Heretimatiwa Úwara (We are Stronger Together), from Belize City, Hanigi Waguburigu (Our Parents Heartbeat) from Dangriga Town, Liderebugu Familia (Strength of the Family) from Seine Bight Village, and Walangante Georgetown (Georgetown’s Legacy) from Georgetown Villag. Teams were scored based on their coordination, creativity and style, transition, engagement with spectators, and Garifuna attire. Daris Avila, president of the Battle of the Drums, described the event as a Garifuna cultural display at its finest and said that while there was only one winner, all teams played like champions.

Darius Avila, President, Battle of the Drums: “It started with a parade, a motorcade with the groups drumming across our town and you know really being a festive mood and hyping up the show that is coming up in the night. When that was over they were well oiled and prepared for the night’s event the 18th annual Battle of the Drums Competition and Show. At the end of it all it was taken by Hanigi Waguburigu which in English translates into “Our parent’s heart.” that was the group that took away the champions of the Battle of the Drums Competition and Show. Again the presentations, the choreography, the competition was a blast. Any of those, in my own view I’m not a judge, any of those teams could have placed first. I’m sure the judges had a hard time determining who was the best.”

Avila said that the battle of the drums also supports the Garifuna community’s efforts to preserve, promote, and reclaim their culture. He added that the competition serves as a symbol of pride in Garifuna culture for the young and old and will support programs and activities to further ensure that the culture remains vibrant.

Darius Avila, President, Battle of the Drums: “The Battle of the Drums is within two contexts. One the competition and show and two the Battle of the Drums Garifuna Cultural Retrieval and Preservation that is the more important aspect of our work. The show, the Battle of the Drums Competition and Show is actually our fundraiser where we seek to generate funds to infuse into our Garifuna Cultural Retrieval and Preservation initiative. That initiative is undertaken under three main areas our Garifuna language retrieval program, our Garifuna drumming, dance, singing program and our Garifuna community support program. Across those three programs we have a wide range of activities and subprograms and this is where we target language, we target drumming, singing, dance and we also empower our people so that they can be more proud of the Garifuna culture. I must say that I agree that the Battle of the Drums has been a catalyst to generate pride, to generate interest in bringing out new drummers, generate interest in bringing out new songs, generate interest in being a Garifuna not only around the 19th of November but year round. And more importantly generate significant interest by integrating the teaching of the Garifuna language into the school system we are seeing how that is already bringing or producing dividends like I said earlier.”

Love FM’s southern tour continues this week with various events planned leading up to the Settlement Day celebration on November 19. Those events include the hudut-making and drumming workshops in Hopkins Village on Thursday morning as well as a cultural performance in Seine Bight on Thursday night. On Friday our morning show will be brought to you live from Seine Bight Village, and there will be cultural performances in George Town Village. On Saturday there will be all-night drumming in both Punta Gorda and Dangria, followed by the re-enactment event on Sunday morning

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