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The Garifuna Collective returns from tour ‘Down Under’

Posted: Friday, March 24, 2023. 4:46 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: There’s no place like home, but Belize’s most travelled musical representative, The Garifuna Collective, has been busy since last year sharing a bit of home across the world.

From February 28 to March 20, the group was playing dates ‘Down Under’ in Australia and New Zealand – visiting Melbourne and Sydney and playing the WOMAD Festival.

According to road manager and bass player Al Ovando, audiences were happy to receive them as entertainment resumed after the COVID-induced pause: “It’s like they understand it right away, even the festivals we play have musicians from all over the world and when I say all over the world I am talking about from Europe to Africa to South America and a lot of indigenous people and cultures and tribes from all over the world, a lot of the groups are like women-based. You know we met a lot of the Aboriginal people from Australia, we got to sit down with them like talk to them casual, you know, just talk and so when it comes to that section, we got to see everyone else’s performance and everybody appreciated our performance the same way and so in the world of music, we just fit right in.”

Lead vocalist and guitarist Emilio Thomas particularly remembered playing in New Zealand: “New Zealand was a different experience, a human experience without distortion of religion and all the other stuff that is really affecting other indigenous cultures all over the world and that was the first time I got into a situation like that so I’m still processing it. I still need a couple more days or a week to even process that specific country but it was a worthwhile experience for all of us.”

After the Easter break toward the end of May, the group are headed back out again to complete their tour of the United States and Canada which they interrupted to head south. Obando noted that this leg has added educational components in appearances at schools and universities.

Tour stops include Boston and New York City along with Albany and Rochester, New York; Chicago, Illinois, and the Sunfest in Toronto, Ontario.


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