Those who fell in love with Andy Palacio's Watina will adore this record. It is a beautiful mix of African rhythms, choral singing and hypnotic, melancholic melodies that will leave you gasping for air, with a mood that will haunt you long after every listen. From the first seconds of the first track, 'Nibari', the Garifuna hold you in rapt attention: theyΓÇÖre troubadours spinning an epic, emotional musical tale imbued with the myriad sounds, moods and tragedy of ancient African America.
Like the Saramaccan people of Suriname or those of BrazilΓÇÖs remnant Quilombos, the Garifuna are Latin American descendants of escaped enslaved West Africans. They trace their ancestry to two Spanish slave ships that foundered off the coast of South America in the early 1600s. Carib Amerindian villages took the shipwrecked Africans in and welcomed them into their extended families. The children of these families eventually formed their own Garifuna communities. And after migrations and forced re-settlements they survive as culturally distinct to this day.
The Garifuna are Africans in exile ΓÇô never subjugated, but eternally displaced. And like other South American Africans, their ancestors preserved their cultural memory through ritual and music. Umalali is on first listen an astonishingly African-sounding record. But whilst it is powered by the visceral, sensual, communal authenticity of Africa, it is infused with the deep sadness of exile, the wash of the sea and the mesmerising contemplative chants of Native America. And every track is a gem ΓÇô whether itΓÇÖs the sumptuous, joyfully sensual lilting of 'Hattie' and 'Afayahadina', the resigned tragedy of 'Uruwei' or the age-old, mournful jungle lament, 'Lirun Biganute', the final track of this unique, deeply moving, unforgettable album.
An emotional, often thrilling, reminder of why Garifuna music is so distinctive and enthralling.
-- The Guardian (****)
A unique and wonderful world; once you enter, you will never want to leave.
-- The Observer (*****)
01- nibari (my grandchild)
03- yunduya weyu (the sun has set)
04- barubana yagien (take me away)
06- luwuburi sigala (hills of tegucigalpa)
07- anaha ya (here i am)
08- tuguchili elia (elia's father)
09- fuleisei (favours)
10- uruwei (the king)
11- afayahadina (i have traveled)
12- lirun biganute (sad news)
Artwork (300dpi scan), EAC log and CUE sheet included.