Monday, November 8, 2010


Garifuna drumming, singing and dance have been enchanting and entertaining Belizeans for many years, but it has been only four years since Battle of the Drums was conceptualized and became an official competition. In recent years, a number of the best drummers from Southern Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala have contributed their talents and support to Garifuna culture. 

The fine art of drumming and dancing has been a part of the rich Garifuna culture since their arrival in Southern Belize. In the Garifuna culture, drumming and dancing have been passed down from generation to generation. The tradition can be traced back to the arrival of the ancestors from West Africa to islands off the coast of Venezuela where they were shipwrecked in 1635. The Garifunas were forced to leave their island by the British, and were deported to Nicaragua, Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. Today the largest concentrations of Garifunas are in Honduras.
Battle of the Drums-Barranco's Chumba Performer
Ugundani Wanaragua Performer
 An intricate blend of African and traditional drumming will be demonstrated in Punta Gorda Town, Belize on Nov 13, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. , a week before the National Garifuna Day, celebrated in Belize on November 19th each year.  If you want to experience Garifuna culture, food and music, PG is the place to be!! 
Dangriga's Wageira Le Drummers
Barranco's Lilagule Barangu
Siene Bight's Ligemerie Ubafu
The show offers very intense drumming and dancing you don’t want to miss if you are in Belize. If this is your first time seeing this drumming competition, be prepared to be swept away by the incredible and powerful rhythm of handmade drums and dancing displayed by the talented Garifuna people. The competition will be judged in 5 different categories of Garifuna drumming and prizes will be given to the winners. The prizes are as follows; 1st, 2nd and 3rd; Best Chumba Performance, Best Wanaragua Performance and Best Uniformed Group.

On Friday evening, November 12th on the roof top of PG Sports Bar you can indulge yourself or get your grub on at the “Food and Fete”. This is a great opportunity to sample authentic Garifuna food prepared by the Radisson Fort George Hotel and the Machaca Hill Resort. Garifuna music will be performed by the legendary Paul Nabor, Nuri Ellia, Umalali and others. Tickets can be bought in advance at the Beya Suite for $25.00 
Darius Avila- Battle of the Drums President
Founded in 2006 by Darius Avila, a businessman of Punta Gorda Town, and  spearheaded by The Battle of the Drums Secretariat, which is a community-based organization comprised of the following leaders from Punta Gorda Town (PG).

Darius Avila – Business Consultant/Owner-Beya Suites
Luke Palacio – Teacher, Toledo Community College
Harris Lucas – Retired Principal, St. Peter Claver Primary School
Simon Paulino – Transport Officer
James Petilllo – Captain-Belize Defence Force
Eric Lopez – Town Foreman – Punta Gorda Town Council
Carmen Lopez – Education Officer, Ministry of Education
Modesta Palacio – Assistant Education Officer, Ministry of Education
Joan Avila – Nurse – Medical Department
Glen Enriquez – Lecturer – University Of Belize (Toledo Campus)

The proceeds from the Battle of the Drum competition are strictly used to pursue Garifuna cultural projects in Punta Gorda Town and other Garifuna communities. Some of these projects include:

  1. The Re-enactment Ceremony in PG; this ceremony constitutes part of the official ceremony of Garifuna Settlement Day and it depicts the arrival of the Garinagu to the shores of Belize.
  2. The Libana Chango Group; a dance group comprised of youths between the ages of nine and fourteen. The group, under the leadership of Nurse Hazel Cayetano keeps the culture alive through dance and songs.
  3. The Summer Camp; held annually to teach children the significance of Garifuna rituals, language, and history.
  4. The Primary School Quiz Contest and Garifuna Drumming School; the preparation for the quiz contest prepare the participants to translate words, phrases and sentences from standard English to Garifuna. The Drumming School teaches kids the skills and drumming acumen to play the Garifuna drum. The annual cost to support the Garifuna Drumming School program is currently BZ$3000.00

If you would like to donate or contribute, here’s what you can do!

Contributions can be made in cash or in-kind as follows: (1) for general support; (2)
towards prizes for the Annual Battle of the Drums Competition and Show; (3) towards
prizes for the Annual Raffle or (4) to support a particular cultural retrieval activity/

Battle of the Drums Secretariat has arranged for different types of sponsorship as follows:

Diamond Sponsor -$5000.00 and above
Gold Sponsor -$4999.99 to $3001.00
Silver Sponsor -$3000.00 to $2000.00
Bronze Sponsor – less than $2000.00

Sponsors will be recognized in all advertisements and marketing paraphernalia, as well as during the Battle of the Drums competition and in all events and activities that the proceeds from the Battle of the Drums sponsor. Additionally, Silver sponsors and above will receive a financial report and photographs portraying activities and events sponsored. Checks can be written in the name of Battle of the Drums. In-kind contributions are also welcome.

Note that the Battle of the Drums initiative has the full support of the National Garifuna Council.

Battle of the Drums Secretariat Contacts:

Darius Avila-P.O. Box 110, 58 Main Street, Punta Gorda Town, Belize
Office Phone No. 501-722-2956; Mobile Phone No. 501-621-0140 Fax 722-2509


Sally said...

Very informative edition Linda. Thanks for the share as always. A Happy 19Th November 2010 Celebration to one and all Garinagu and other Belizean/Ethnicity included.


Angela Palacio said...

Linda great article again!!

Thanks for providing this information about the battle of the drums, the garinagu, drumming, and the Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations. Congratulations to Darius Avila on the Battle of the Drums and the contribution of the Secretariat to the preservation of the Garifuna culture.