Music

Aurelio: Our Language and Our Drums

The reason for continuing to sing in Garifuna is that the spirit of this music is in our language and in our drums.

images by Muge Karamanci interview by CBK

Anyone with ears to listen could tell you that music is a powerful, but sometimes it is more than just expression and entertainment. Aurelio uses music as a tool to advance and preserve the Garifuna people and culture.

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Would you define your music as Punta? Your sound is so unique from a geo-cultural perspective; can you tell us a bit about the genre?
This genre is not punta. The initiative of this part of my career is generated by the genre of Paranda, which has been merged with some additional sounds from around the world. It is the evolution of the Garifuna music, which has changed over time like any other music in the world.

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Most of what I’ve heard is sung in the Garifuna language. Being from Honduras, have you ever considered writing songs in Spanish, or any other language that you speak as a way of making the lyrics more accessible, and therefore garnering more awareness of cultural traditions?
For now, I feel I must continue composing music in the Garifuna language without closing the possibility of working with some of the world’s other languages. The reason for continuing to sing in Garifuna is that the spirit of this music is in our language and in our drums. I feel this does not limit the audience or make the music less accessible because the music from its essence is a universal language. I am open to having future albums include translations or lyrics in different languages.

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Music and politics don’t often go hand in hand, but they can in that music is a powerful tool for communication. How did you leverage the two during your time as a politician?
While politicians use musicians in their campaigns, I agree with you that it doesn’t go hand in hand. The spirit of an artist is not the same as a politician. In my experience and in my country, I found it would be impossible to merge the artistic with the political for several reasons. For example, in a country where there is no cultural policy, I wonder how you can advance a framework for the arts. I feel that many lack sensitivity within the state apparatus to all the different forms of artistic expression.

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

As a “cultural ambassador”, what is your mission in regards to the Garifuna culture?
My mission is to further promote this music around the world, encourage other artists to accompany me in the process and create their own careers, establish structures for the education of children in the arts, creating schools in the Garifuna diaspora countries and eventually create my own foundation.

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

The Garifuna people have unique history, but there are elements of that history that shared by other cultures who have experience diaspora, discrimination, etc. Do you think, in this way, music acts a universal language for people who come from similarly diverse backgrounds and don’t an official state?
Sure, not only through the Garifuna music, but also through other genres of music such as reggae, nueva trova… I think that music connects the world as a universal language.

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

Aurelio ©Muge Karamanci

2 Responses to “Aurelio: Our Language and Our Drums”

  1. MARCOS L MENA says:

    I AM PROUD OF YOU AND YOUR MUSIC, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

  2. Teofilo Colon Jr says:

    Citizen Brooklyn,

    In response to your question regarding International World Music Star, Garifuna Singer Songwriter Aurelio Martinez writing songs in Spanish so that he could increase his music’s accesibility; Aurelio Martinez’s Punta Rock Albums feature songs sung in either the Garifuna or Spanish Language. For example, his latest Punta Rock album, “Conexion Caribe” (“Caribbean Connection” in the Spanish Language) has several songs with Spanish lyrics.

    Interested readers can easily visit Aurelio’s website for small audio snippets of his music.

    Best,
    Teofilo Colon Jr
    http://www.beinggarifuna.com

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