This year marks the eleventh anniversary of the passing of Musical Icon and Cultural Ambassador, Andy Palacio. In commemoration of his life, every December 2, on his birthday, a memorial mass is held in several communities to pay tribute. Nerisi Lopez, President of the National Garifuna Council (NGC) highlighted the events that took place in Belize City.
Nerisi Lopez, President, National Garifuna Council: “We all know that second of December 1960 was the birth date of Andy Palacio. Yesterday was his birthday and National Garifuna Council Belize City branch along with his family members here in Belize City have committed many years ago that every year we celebrate his birthday. We started off with a mass at the St.Martin’s Parrish, there we had the dynamic choir, we also had the guest speaker the music ambassador Shyne Barrow was our guest speaker last night giving a little highlight on Andy and his accomplishments during this lifetime. Our meditation was also done by Juan Pablo and we had Joshua Arana who was on the drum and of course he is one of the most energetic and dynamic drummers that we know. So it was a very very inspirational mass and at the end of that mass we had a balloon release. This year is the first that we are doing it and we want to make it an annual event where we release 59 balloons because he was 59 yesterday. We had yellow, white and black balloons symbolic to him because he’s all about Garifuna culture, he’s one of the persons that set the tone for that Garifuna music is internationally so of course we had to do that. It was followed by a concert, this concert was held at Lerisi Garfiaun Restaurant so we want to say thank you to Adette Nalberto because she has been accommodating for all our events this year. So we moved there, we had Larubeya drummers, we had Habimi Garifuna Dance Group, we had Jason Ramos and all these artists and performers did it free of cost. Everything was for free, we didn’t charge at the entrance and we had an amazing audience, we had a night filled with activities and fun all in honor of the late great Andy Palacio. Andy Palacio brought recognition to Garifuna music and he brought recognition to Belize, he was the first local artist that had his music being played on the international television screen and that is a big deal. He was an award winner, he was an ambassador for music so he did all of this and this is one of the reasons why we can never forget him. Andy Palacio had hit records that everybody even if they’re not Garinagu will remember some of this music like Watina and some symbolism behind it.”
Andy Palacio was born and raised in the Barranco Village, Toledo District. He had a long history of teaching and public service, including serving as Deputy Administrator of the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH).