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16th Battle of the Drums will rock Belize’s music world on Saturday, November 13

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Posted: Friday, November 12, 2021. 3:55 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The 16th Annual Battle of the Drums will be held virtually on Saturday, November 13, staring at 7pm.

From a small show in 2006, the Battle of the Drums has grown to become an international show followed by tens of thousands.

“When we put the show together back in 2006, we started off in the Civic Center in PG, a very small building,” said Darius Avila, who along with Luke Palacio, initiated the Battle of the Drums.

“We decided we would put 50 chairs because we didn’t know exactly how it would turn out. Before we knew it, the place was swarming with people and Luke and I said “Wow, this has potential”.

So, the following year they made it a national event and then went international inviting participants from other Garifuna communities in Guatemala and Honduras.

Palacio says last year the show had 131,000 views across 45 countries. The Battle of the Drums can be followed on the Battle of the Drums Facebook page and on the Battle of the Drums website.

“Our mission has always been the preservation of the culture. We want to ensure that we continue to speak our language. That gives us the determination and the drive,” said Palacio. “Because the Garifuna culture is now worldwide, we needed to reach put to our Garifuna brothers and sisters in the wider world.”

Palacio said that the support they’ve been given has allowed them to move to higher heights.

“The show evolved because we have audience from across ethnicities, from across borders, so we have to ensure that the show continues to appeal to them,” Avila said. “While we try to keep things a lot traditional, we allow some infusion of creativity outside of the original just so that we can retain our audiences.”

Now that The Battle of the Drums has ‘gone large’ it’s featured as Battle of the Drums Showcase and Belize Garifuna Music Festival. The virtual showcase and festival will be based in Punta Gorda but will feature performances from the East and West Coast in the United States.

In effect, there is going to be a pre-show starting at 6:30 pm originating out of Florida.

At 7:00 pm, the pre-show makes way for the Battle of the Drums featuring five groups from Punta Gorda, Dangriga, Belize City, Seine Bight, and Georgetown. Avila said that for the first time the audience will be allowed to vote.

When that is over at about 9:00 pm, the Garifuna Music Festival will follow with Sweet Pain Band 3.0 backing up the likes of Reckless Flores, Chico Ramos, and Supa G. The US segment will feature Garifuna artists from both the East and West Coasts. The Garifuna Muisc Festival will feature performances representing five genres of Garifuna music, namely punta, paranda, hunguhungu, gunjai, and punta rock.

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