A GARIFUNA Is Among Caribbean Americans of Distinction to be Honored at 2015 Caribbean Life Newspaper Impact Awards Gala on THURSDAY, November 19th 2015 in Brooklyn

 

Brooklyn, New York — Brooklyn based newspaper, Caribbean Life, will be honoring 30 Caribbean Americans of Distinction at their First Caribbean Life Impact Awards on THURSDAY, November 19th 2015.  Did you know that a GARIFUNA Man is among the Honorees?

Copyright 2015 by Teofilo Colon Jr. (a.k.a. “Tio Teo”).  All Rights Reserved. Telephone: (646) 961-3674.

Garifuna Singer, Musician, Activist and Ambassador James Lovell is the Garifuna man that I am speaking of.  The Caribbean Life Newspaper has chosen to honor and recognize James Lovell as a significant and impactful Caribbean American of Distinction and his activities over the years merit such an honor.

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In writing about various aspects of Garifuna culture as well as Garifuna news items for this BEING GARIFUNA website since 2009, James Lovell has been a steady and constant presence. In short, he is ALWAYS on the scene in the Garifuna community as well as in the larger Caribbean American, Latin American / Hispanic / American community via cultural events.  His commitment to Garifunaduo (“The Garifuna Way” in the Garifuna Language) and constantly encouraging Garinagu to embrace their Garifuna heritage as well as his enthusiasm for the Garifuna Language are truly an inspiration and worth noting.

As an Garifuna artist, James Lovell’s talent and intent are out there for the world to see. You can scroll below  to read a biography of Mr. James Lovell.  Miss Lucy Blanco, founder of the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble (of which James Lovell is a member) had this to say about Mr. James Lovell.

“James and I have had many conversations.about the work we do as artists and the pride we have in being Garifuna. James is passionate about preserving the language and culture through music.  Since we formed our band The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in 2009 it has been a great journey working side by side and following thru with our vision of creating a new music genre with the fusion of Jazz and Gariguna music.”  — Lucy Blanco, Jazz Vocalist of Garifuna Heritage  

The Afri Garifuna Jazz Ensemble (from Left To Right):  STANDING -- James Lovell, Dre Barnes, Hilliard Greene, Gary Fritz.  SEATED -- Lucy Blanco, Eva Vossmerbaumer.

The Afri Garifuna Jazz Ensemble (from Left To Right): STANDING — James Lovell, Dre Barnes, Hilliard Greene, Gary Fritz. SEATED — Lucy Blanco, Eva Vossmerbaumer.

When Miss Lucy Blanco began looking for musicians to collaborate with for her Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble in 2009, she knew that Mr. James Lovell brought an immense skill-set to the band.  When asked why she brought him into their innovative musical group, she explained;

“I was looking for a Garifuna musician who knew Garifuna rhythms and was not afraid to work out of their comfort zone.  Meaning working on Jazz pieces which is not commonly played by Garifuna musicians and exploring the many ways to marry the Garifuna rhythms.  I was also looking for someone who could teach me the traditional songs that have been passed on orally.  When I first shared my idea with him he was excited and wanted to start working on it right away.  Our first collaboration was George & Ira Gershwin’s  ‘Summertime’.  James translated the lyrics and blended it with a Paranda rhythm.”   — Miss Lucy Blanco

Miss Lucy Blanco continued, talking about what has taken place with the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble  since their inception.

“Our first performance was well received and it has become a favorite over the last few years.  Since we began our collaboration we have had great performance opportunities at great venues, like Flushing Town Hall in Queens, Bronx Heritage Music Center and Trinity College in Hartford CT.  With the upcoming release of our debut Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble album, produced by myself, James Lovell and Associate Producer / Percussionist Gary ‘Wicked’ Fritz; people will be able to musically see, feel and experience why the decision to include James Lovell into the group was not only a wise choice, but the best choice.”  — Miss Lucy Blanco

Mr. James Lovell has been employed by the New York City Board of Education and his role as an educator — particularly amongst youths is one that while mentioned (especially here at the BEING GARIFUNA website), hasn’t truly been explored.  It’s key to Mr. Lovell’s appeal and impact and will be the foundation of his legacy.

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


Garifuna Singer Musician James Lovell at the 2013 New Jersey Folk Festival.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Singer Musician James Lovell at the 2013 New Jersey Folk Festival. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Singer Musician James Lovell at the Biko Transformation Center in Brooklyn in 2010.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Singer Musician James Lovell at the Biko Transformation Center in Brooklyn in 2010. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

In interviewing various New York City-based Garinagu regarding Mr. James Lovell’s impact, it’s worth keeping in mind the parents who decided to have their children involved in his Garifuna music projects.  Ms. Julie Castillo, a parent to children who were involved in Mr. Lovell’s innovative Garifuna Language project where he taught the Garifuna Language through music; had this to say when asked why she had brought her children and had them involved in his project.

“James Lovell is an icon in the Garifuna community. When I was younger and in the Ilagulei (“Root” in the Garifuna Language) Garifuna Performing Arts group, he taught me a few songs. So when I heard he was teaching Garifuna classes, I knew he was the perfect teacher for my children. He taught them through music which is what he’s mostly known for.” — Ms. Julie Castillo

Below is video of Mr. James Lovell’s work with children.  It’s from a 2013 Fundraiser for the Yugucure Initiative in St. Vincent.  In fact, three of the four children in the video below are the children of Ms. Castillo.

Mr. James Lovell has been involved in many similar activities, many of which were covered here on the Being Garifuna website.  This summer, he brought his Garifuna Nursery Rhyme program to Belize for the second summer in a row.  I didn’t write about that program but again, Mr. Lovell has always been doing this.  Below is another video of Mr. Lovell’s teaching the Garifuna to children.  Here, you can also see an illustration of other ways these children benefit by working with Mr. James Lovell.  For example, the importance of proper posture when addressing people as well as the nuances behind effective public speaking.

The Being Garifuna website extends a hearty congratulations to Mr. James Lovell on this honor.   November 19th is a special day for Garinagu from Belize and Nicaragua as that is the day Garifuna Settlement Day is celebrated there.  In fact, Garifuna Settlement Day is a Public and Bank Holiday in Belize.  November 19th 2015 will probably be an even sweeter than usual day than usual for Mr. James Lovell.  Mabuigo, James Lovell!!!

The Caribbean Life Impact Awards will be taking place on THURSDAY, November 19th 2015.  It will take place at the Paradise Catering Hall in Brooklyn.

2015 Caribbean Life Impact Awards

Paradise Catering Hall

51 Avenue U (between W. 11th St and W. 12th St)

Brooklyn, New York 11223


Cocktails will begin at 5:30pm and Dinner will begin at 6:30pm.

Tickets are $85 per person and a portion of the proceeds will be used to form a scholarship fund for Caribbean American college students in New York City.  For more information or to buy tickets, email or call Jennifer Stern at (718) 260-8302. Email: jstern@cnglocal.com

Other Caribbean Americans of Distinction being honored at the 2015 Caribbean Life Impact Awards Gala include: 

Alton Aimable

Thomas Bailey

Joan Bakiriddin

Gordon Berment

Geneieve Brown Metzger

Ricardo Bryan

Dave Bryan

Andrea Bullens

Anishka Clarke

Sabrina Clinton

Richard David

Nicole Etienne-Robinson

Roy Hastick

Dennis Hawthorne

Lowell Hawthorne

Edgar Henry

Karisma Jay

Terry LaPierre

Pastor Gilford Monrose

Judy Newton

Juan Reyes

Dave Rodney

Nina Rodriguez

Annette Runcie

Carl Stuart

Vaughan Toney

Dennis Rahiim Watson

Ruby Wood

Tiphanie Yanique

 –

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.

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


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.

Garifuna Singer Musician James Lovell at the 2010 Belize Garifuna Settlement Day Mass in Brooklyn.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Singer Musician James Lovell at the 2010 Belize Garifuna Settlement Day Mass in Brooklyn. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

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 The Caribbean Life Newspaper

Founded in 1990, The Caribbean Life Newspaper is a weekly newspaper that covers news of interest to the Caribbean community of New York City.  Billed as the world’s largest Caribbean newspaper, Caribbean Life has a weekly circulation of 71,500.   Community News Group is the distributor of the Caribbean Life Newspaper.

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 cultural fusion of race and ethnicities on 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.   1

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


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.

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 through the PAYPAL website, so potential donations are SAFE and SECURE. 


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.

Notes:

  1. Nancie L. Gonzalez, “Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pg. 21

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