Album of the Day: The Garifuna Collective, “Aban”

The Garifuna Collective has been bringing the culture of the Garifuna people to the world stage for over a decade, and Aban, the celebrated Belizean music group’s latest album, is a rapturous addition to their discography. The group’s name pays homage to their ancestry, as part of an Afro-Indengious community in Central America and the Caribbean. Co-founded by the late Andy Palacio, the collective sings in the endangered Garifuna language, and features Garifuna people from across Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. As a result, Aban is a vibrant mix of Garifuna and other African diaspora musical traditions. 

The lively eight-track album is host to a wide range of Garifuna traditional music, including Wanaragua and the sacred Hüngühüngün. Opening track, “Lügua (Lost),” is a jubilant track with upbeat electric guitar, driven by collective member Marcela Aranda’s inviting voice. The song “Uraga (Story),” blends guitar, Garifuna primero drums, turtle shells, and conch shells to create a steady, percussive beat, while Aranda’s commanding vocals occupy the forefront. The song ends with a field recording taken in 1997 in a Garifuna community in Honduras. Album closer “Chatuye” is more somber, built around vocals from member Mohobub Flores and pared-down drums and handclaps from the collective. With Aban, the Garifuna Collective continue their tradition of bringing the dynamic music of the Garifuna to the world.

-Diamond Sharp

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