Garifuna American Punta Rock Band GX TEAM and Garifuna Singer Songwriter ADRIAN DOC MARTINEZ Return to Ancestral Land of Garifuna People, ST VINCENT ISLAND to Perform at International Garifuna Conference

 

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Kingstown, St Vincent Island — Garifuna American Punta Rock Band from New York City, GX Team and Garifuna Singer Songwriter from Belize, Adrian ‘Doc’ Martinez will both be performing at the 2015 International Garifuna Summit and Conference in St. Vincent and The Grenadines.

As presented by The Garifuna Heritage Foundation Inc of St. Vincent and The Grenadines, both of the above acts are scheduled to be performing at the International Garifuna Music Show on FRIDAY, March 13th 2015 and SATURDAY, March 14th 2015.

Garifuna Singer Songwriter, Adrian "Doc" Martinez.  Photo from Americas Now Broadcast.

Garifuna Singer Songwriter, Adrian “Doc” Martinez. Photo from Americas Now Broadcast.

I do not know if Mr. Adrian ‘Doc’ Martinez has ever visited and / or performed in St. Vincent and The Grenadines.  However, I do know that this is the first time that GX TEAM has ever laid their feet on the ancestral land of the Garifuna people, taking this above the realm of just another gig.

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The stated objective of this International Garifuna Music Show as expressed by The Garifuna Heritage Foundation Inc of St. Vincent is to showcase modern Garifuna Music in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by the presentation of Garifuna Music by young and talented Garifuna musicians.  1

Garifuna American Punta Rock Band, GX Team Performing at a Sweet 16 Celebration in 2011.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna American Punta Rock Band, GX Team Performing at a Sweet 16 Celebration in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

In this instance, both acts qualify and hopefully this is the first step across the bridge over turbulent international waters of Garifuna music.  There are very few musical artists who can say that they are practicioners of this music form.  It will be intriguing to find out just what that first musical conversation is like between practiced Garifuna musicians versus musicians in St. Vincent who are not as well versed in traditional or modern and / or evolved versions of its native music.

About Adrian ‘Doc’ Martinez  2

From Georgetown Village, in the Stann Creek district of Belize, Adrian “The Doc” Martinez,

THE DOC started off as the lead singer in the “Forever Band” and also worked with various new bands in Dangriga–also known as the Culture Capital of Belize–like Ugurou Band and Punta Rebels, to helping to artistically develop the likes of Supa G, Lloyd & Reckless and Job Coleman. At the time, they were considered the young up-and-coming Punta Rock stars of the late 90’s.

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The transformation of THE DOC’s musical career commenced when he was recruited by the late great Andy Palacio to be a part of a new music “project” that promoted other genres of the Garifuna music.  That is, The “Watina” album of Andy Palacio and The Garifuna Collective.

Garifuna Singer Songwriter, Adrian "Doc" Martinez.  Photo from Americas Now Broadcast.

Garifuna Singer Songwriter, Adrian “Doc” Martinez. Photo from Americas Now Broadcast.

Touring and performing throughout the United States, Europe and Central America, and being a part of the Garifuna All Stars, who later became known as the Garifuna Collective, was by far the pinnacle of THE DOC’s musical career. Despite being an accomplished musician with major hits like Di Doctor Di Ya, Heiru (“Sadness” in the Garifuna Language), Sarahuma (“Get Up” in the Garifuna Language), Laru Beya (“Seaside” in the Garifuna Language) and Nigatu (“My Sister-in-Law” in the Garifuna Language), THE DOC is probably best known for his collaboration with Andy Palacio on the hit song Baba (Father), which demonstrates THE DOC’s vocal versatility, musical dexterity and astute songwriting skills. Being a part of the “project” not only changed the music industry in Belize, but also put Garifuna music on the global map of music emanating from Belize.

After Palacio’s untimely death, THE DOC took a break from music, but has since resumed recording and performing, with new songs such as Aba Katei (“Something” in the Garifuna Language) and Anaha (“Here I am” in the Garifuna Language) demonstrating his ability to fuse traditional Garifuna sounds with contemporary non-genre specific sounds resulting in fresh new music with distinct Garifuna “flavor”.

About GX Team

Founded in 2008 by Kevin Ramirez, GX Team (the GX is for Generation X) is a Garifuna American Punta Rock Band based in New York City.  It currently consists of 8 members (Marvin Martinez, Steven ‘Young P’ Martinez, Alex Ciego, Edward Gonzalez, Jovan Matute, Jose Peri, Derrick Martinez and Kevin Ramirez, a.k.a. “Big Kev”) who, while born in the United States, have parents from Honduras, Guatemala and Belize.

Garifuna American Music Producer BIG KEV of GX Team at Sweet 16 Celebration in 2011.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna American Music Producer BIG KEV of GX Team at Sweet 16 Celebration in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

27 years old, Mr. Keven Ramirez (a.k.a “Big Kev”) is also an accomplished music producer.  Not only has he been the main producer on the GX Team Discography, but he, along with other members of the Band, have produced songs on the albums of accomplished Garifuna Singers like Aziatic “Basslines and Guitars” album, Emilio Nunez “Casos De La Vida” album, Babylou (“Africa” song) and Garifuna American Punta Rock Bands like Garifuna Outlaws “Run For Your Life” Album, Alagany Band “Mixtape”.

Garifuna American Punta Rock Band, GX Team at Sweet 16 Celebration in 2011.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna American Punta Rock Band, GX Team at Sweet 16 Celebration in 2011. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

GX Team Albums include:

Fusion Vol 1 (2008)

GX Radio Mixtape (2009)

GX Team — Out The Box 1 (2010)

GX Reloaded Mixtape (2011)

Paranda Album (2012)

Out The Box 2 — The Garifuna Experience (2014)

 –

Below is a 2011 Promo Video by GX Team. It is of their song Punta Fever from their album, “Out The Box”.

Casually looking at the Facebook profiles of GX Team members, it appears only two of the members are in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the moment; Big Kev and Shocka Dee.  I do not know if they are the only ones representing GX Team at this conference or whether other members are scheduled to arrive later this week.

Garifuna American Music Producer, BIG KEV of Garifuna American Punta Rock Band GX Team on St. Vincent Island. Photo courtesy of Kevin Ramirez / Facebook.

Garifuna American Music Producer, BIG KEV of Garifuna American Punta Rock Band GX Team on St. Vincent Island. Photo courtesy of Kevin Ramirez / Facebook.

There’s notice in Caribbean E Magazine of a Garifuna Band opening for Reggae Star Shaggy at the 2015 National St. Vincent Heroes Day Concert on SATURDAY, March 14th 2015.  Is that GX Team?  The notice didn’t name the band.  The sentence reads, “…a Garifuna band from New York, among other cultural performers”.  3

Garifuna American Keyboard Player Shocka of GX TEAM on St. Vincent Island.  Photo courtesy of GX Team / Facebook

Garifuna American Keyboard Player Shocka of GX TEAM on St. Vincent Island. Photo courtesy of GX Team / Facebook

Also, The Program for the 2015 International Garifuna Summit and Conference also lists Music Workshops taking place as part of this unique conference, but it does not name anyone specifically being a part of the music workshops.  I can assume that Mr. Adrian ‘Doc’ Martinez and GX Team are taking part of said Music Workshops, but I cannot say for sure.

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Traditional Garifuna Music, like in the Punta Genre of music; consists of at least 2 Garifuna drums, Maracas and Turtle Shell.  Punta Rock is the electronification of this acoustic music style of playing.  Punta Rock is a little more up-tempo and Electric and Electronic instruments like Synthesizers, Keyboards, Drum Machines, etc are brought in to transform the traditional Garifuna Music form and make the music more modern.

NOTE: This isn’t the first time that International Waters have been crossed as far as Garinagu reaching back to the Ancestral Land of the Garifuna people to teach aspects of Garifuna Culture.  Since 2010, Garifuna Singer Songwriter James Lovell has led the pioneering Yugacure (YUrumein GArifuna CUltural REtrieval) Initiative, where he and a team of Garinagu from the United States spend a summer month on St. Vincent Island teaching Vincentian Children Garifuna Music, Garifuna Dance and other aspects of Garifuna culture.

ABOUT The Garifuna People

The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent. From this fusion of race and ethnicities in St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.  They are noted for being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men,  1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.  4

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In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.

Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797; the Garifunas subsequently settled many towns and villages along the Caribbean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.  Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.  Despite their mainly Spanish surnames, their culture and history are distinct from other Afro-American and Latino ethnic groups and it’s important to keep that in mind.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

Garifuna American Punta Rock Band from New York City, GX Team and Garifuna Singer Songwriter Adrian 'Doc' Martinez.  GX Team Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna American Punta Rock Band from New York City, GX Team and Garifuna Singer Songwriter Adrian ‘Doc’ Martinez. GX Team Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

 

Notes:

  1. http://garifunaresearchcenter.org/international-garifuna-music-show/
  2. http://www.accscaribbean.com/users/adrian-doc-martinez
  3. http://www.caribbeanemagazine.com/#!%E2%80%98Shaggy%E2%80%99-to-Perform-at-Heroes-Day-Concert-in-SVG/cjds/54ecb1c40cf2d6b79df41b44
  4. Nancie L Gonzalez, “Sojourners of The Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pgs 21-23

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