Garifuna Drummer, NORVY ‘LAM’ CASTILLO Passes Away Suddenly in New York City. Garifuna Celebration of His Life To Take Place in the BRONX on SATURDAY, May 16th 2015.

 

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New York City, New York — Well liked Garifuna Drummer, Norvy “Lam” Castillo, passed away suddenly on Thursday, May 14th 2015.

Details are scarce, but I am told he was found unresponsive in his room and after attempts to revive him failed, his body was taken away by EMS workers.

Garifuna Drummer Norvy Lam Castillo performing with The Budari Dance Company at the 2011 Honduran and Central American Parade in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Drummer Norvy Lam Castillo performing with The Budari Dance Company at the 2011 Honduran and Central American Parade in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

From the Garifuna town of Travesia, Honduras; I didn’t know Mr. Castillo very well but I met him in 2010 and found him to be a friendly and good-natured guy who loved to pose for photos.

Norvy Lam Castillo made a name for himself for always being ready to represent Garifuna culture through music–particularly Garifuna Drumming via his playing of the Segundo Garifuna Drum.

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At it’s root, you usually find that two drums are used In the playing of Garifuna rhythms, The Primero drum and The Segundo drum.  The Primero drum has a lighter sound and usually accents, variations and improvisations are played on this drum.  The Primero sound it makes changes depending on the activity of the dancers and changes in the rhythms from fellow drummers.   1

The Segundo (“Second” in the Spanish Language) drum serves as a bass drum which has a heavier sound.  The Segundo drum also sets the tempo of the rhythm.  The segundo drum is often referred to as expressing the heartbeat of all the Garifuna rhythms.  2

Garifuna Drummer Norvy Lam Castillo at the 2013 Friends of Crotona Park Family Day Celebration at Bathgate Playground in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Drummer Norvy Lam Castillo at the 2013 Friends of Crotona Park Family Day Celebration at Bathgate Playground in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

While Mr. Norvy Lam Castillo’s birthdate on Facebook is listed as November 27th 1967,  making him 47 years old at the time of his passing. However, according to colleagues like Bodoma, Mr. Norvy Lam Castillo was 32 years old. I do not know of his relatives or whether he was married or had children.  3

Garifuna Drummer Norvy Lam Castillo performing with the Bodoma Garifuna Culture Band at the 2013 New Jersey Folk Festival.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Drummer Norvy Lam Castillo performing with the Bodoma Garifuna Culture Band at the 2013 New Jersey Folk Festival. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Mr. Norvy Castillo has been a drummer with the Bodoma Garifuna Culture Band as well as the Budari Dance Company and the Hamalali Wayunagu Garifuna Folkloric and Modern Dance Company.  Garifuna Percussionist, Bodoma announced that there will be a Garifuna Tribute and Celebration of Mr. Norvy Castillo’s life on SATURDAY, May 16th 2015 in the Bronx.

Garifuna Drummer Norvy "Lam" Castillo taking part in the 2011 Honduran and Central American Parade in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Drummer Norvy “Lam” Castillo taking part in the 2011 Honduran and Central American Parade in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

It will take place on the grounds of Crotona Park in the Bronx and is scheduled to begin at 2pm.    The announcements that I have read state that this celebration will take place in the area where the Annual Honduran and Central American Festival takes place.  That would be Claremont Parkway and Crotona Avenue.


 –

Here is video of Garifuna Drummer Bodoma and his Garifuna Culture band performing on the Univision Television Network (Channel 41 in New York City) in 2010.  You can see Norvy Lam Castillo on the far left of the drummers in this video.  He is wearing the white and blue Honduran soccer shirt.

The treatment of death is a key component of Garifuna Spirituality and Garifuna Culture.  It will be interesting to see how Mr. Norvy “Lam” Castillo’s life is celebrated on SATURDAY, May 16th 2015 in the Bronx.  Beinggarifuna.com expresses heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Norvy “Lam Castillo.  May he rest in peace.  Sakuritina wafedirunu wügüri le.  If you knew Mr. Norvy “Lam” Castillo and would like to share your memories of him, please write a comment below.

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 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 Drummer Norvy Lam Castillo at 2011 Honduran and Central American Parade in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Drummer Norvy Lam Castillo at 2011 Honduran and Central American Parade in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

 

Notes:

  1. http://beinggarifuna.com/?p=1168
  2. http://beinggarifuna.com/?p=1168
  3. https://www.facebook.com/norvy.castillo.3?pnref=story
  4. Nancie L Gonzalez, “Sojourners of The Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pgs 21-23

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