Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective, Wátina

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
One of the very best records ever to come out of the Caribbean.

Palacio has been the musical evangelist of the Belizean Garifuna for years, but with this labor of love he's found not only his voice, but that of his people. In the ideal, subtle blend of roots and modernity, the loose group builds songs in their language on traditional rhythms. Although Palacio's name is on the masthead, this truly is a collective of talents, and he often steps away from the spotlight to let others take the lead, as on “Gaganbadibá” and “Baba.” It's as soulful and heartfelt an album as you're going to find, with its focused snapshots of life and beliefs, whether on the incisive title cut or the elegiac closer “Ámuñegü,” which ponders the fate of the Garifuna. Although it's reportedly the product of several years'work, it feels gloriously spontaneous and alive. Quite simply, it's one of the very best records ever to come out of the Caribbean, the kind of piece that deserves — no, demands — a global canvas.