Experience The Wonder of GARIFUNA Culture With Your Children at Garifuna Drumming and Arts Activity at The Brooklyn Children’s Museum on SATURDAY, March 14th 2015 With Garifuna Singer Musician JAMES LOVELL for 2015 GARIFUNA American Heritage Month in New York

 

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Brooklyn, New York — On SATURDAY afternoon, March 14th 2015, Garifuna Singer Musician James Lovell will host a special Garifuna Arts activity at Brooklyn Children’s Museum.  From the looks of it, this activity is something that the entire family can enjoy.

Garifuna Singer Musician and Educator, Belizean Garifuna Man James Lovell.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Singer Musician and Educator, Belizean Garifuna Man James Lovell. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Entitled, “Cultural Connections: Garifuna Drumming and Arts With James Lovell”, Children will learn to play Garifuna Drumming rhythms as well as have an opportunity to dance to the funky music.

This Garifuna Drumming and Arts Activity is scheduled to take place during the 2pm hour and the 3pm hour.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

145 Brooklyn Avenue (Between St Marks Avenue and Park Place)

Brooklyn, NY 11213

Admission: $9 per person

SUBWAY: C Train to Kingston-Throop Avenue Subway Stop

3 Train to Kingston Avenue Subway Stop

NOTE: The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a BLUE STAR Museum, which means that All Military Personnel (active or retired) WITH ID receive the discount of FREE family admission up to 6 individuals.

Here is VIDEO of Garifuna Singer Musician JAMES LOVELL at a Fundraising Event at the Endangered Language Alliance in 2013.  Here, he teaches a Garifuna Version of an American Children’s Song to the assembled Audience.

Also here is VIDEO of Garifuna Singer James Lovell with his Afri-Garifuna Youth Ensemble.  Here, they sing, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” Children’s Song in the Garifuna Language.

About James Lovell

James Lovell was born in the village of Mango Creek, but grew up in Dangriga Town, Belize. After graduating from Ecumenical High School in Dangriga Town, James joined the Belize Police Force Band, where he learned to play several instruments such as the guitar, bass guitar, clarinet, euphonium saxophone and keyboards, and took advanced correspondence courses from the Royal School of Music. He learned to read and write music and to arrange musical compositions.

In 1990, James migrated to the United States. In June 1995, James produced and released his first professional CD album entitled Cabasan Numari. James has also produced and recorded three albums and is presently working on a bilingual children nursery rhymes album. In 2005 and 2008, he facilitated “Habinaha Garinagu” (Dance Garifuna) in Dangriga Belize, sponsored by the National Garifuna Council. He has also been the Vice President and Musical Director for “Illagulei,” a Garifuna performing arts company.

Recently James was instrumental in the Garifuna Language and Culture program through “YuGaCuRe” (Yurumein Garifuna Cultural Retrieval Program), that is reclaiming and teaching the language and culture to children and adults in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which is the ancestral homeland of the Garifuna.

Under the leadership and sponsorship of the National Garifuna Council of Belize, he obtained two grants, the first from the World Bank for Indigenous People Fund in 2005, and the second from UNESCO in 2008, both which led James to be hired to facilitate the Garifuna Dance and Music Workshop in Dangriga Town, Belize.

About Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York

Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York (March 11th through April 12th) is designed to reflect on and observe the occasion of the Garifuna people (then known as Black Caribs) being kicked out of their ancestral land of St. Vincent Island on March 11th 1797 to their arrival in Central America on April 12th 1797.  The dates reference the period of time where the Garifuna voyage took place between their ancestral land and their new place of residence, where a new life was forced upon them.

According to a press release from the non-profit organization the Garifuna Coalition USA Inc, Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York also,

“celebrates the great contributions of Garífuna-Americans to the fabric of New York City and New York State, and pays tribute to the common culture and bonds of friendship that unite the United States and the Garífuna’s countries of origin (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras Nicaragua and St Vincent and the Grenadines.)”.

The Garifuna Coalition adds, “New York City is home to the largest Garífuna Community outside of Central America!  However, although Garífunas have been migrating here in search of a better life since the 1930s; the community was virtually obscured until the Happy Land Social Club fire on March 25th, 1990.”  Most of the victims of that tragedy were Honduran, many were of Garifuna descent 1.

2015 Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York. (March 11th through April 12th). Logo by Ivan Moreira.

2015 Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York. (March 11th through April 12th). Logo by Ivan Moreira.

Overall, the idea is to pay tribute to the survival and resiliency of the Garifuna people and also highlight the contributions made by Garifunas to the state of New York and the United States of America.  Also, this as well as other activities taking place in New York during Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York are designed to further visibility of the Garifuna ethnic group to the general populace of New York City.

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.  2

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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 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.

 

Notes:

  1. Edna Negron, “Club Tragedy an Awakening for Garifuna”, New York Newsday, Sunday, August 18th 1991.
  2. Nancie L Gonzalez, “Sojourners of The Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pgs 21-23

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