Review: The Garifuna Collective – Ayó

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-Greg’s Take-

Music plays a vital role in a long list of life events, but perhaps none more important than celebration; the celebration of a victory, a heritage or even a life.

Regrouping from the loss of fellow musician Andy Palacio, The Garifuna Collective is set to release Ayó on the firm precedence that it is not about any one musician, but about the soul of their sound; a collective. Over twelve tracks incorporating a primarily upbeat style and through the language of music, The Garifuna Collective taught me one thing and one thing alone; that my greatest single mistake as a fan of music is not having discovered the Garifuna sound until now.

I suppose the hardest thing for anyone to wrap their head around here is that, despite the tumultuous history of the Garifuna people, their sound is as beautifully pure, seemingly optimistic and moving as anything you can find. And I challenge you to look.

Forget everything you thought you knew about world music. Ayó carries enough passion to transcend that as it dances on audible waves as if friction were fiction. It spins and moves like a world-class dancer moving across a room on light. But most importantly, it taps into a level of groove that will spark a fire in your soul that you simply cannot resist.

With instrumentals ranging from guitars to maraca, from drums to turtle shell this album is more than music; it is a culture. The Afro-Amerindian sound is a blend of heritage and vision. From “Ayó,” Garifuna for “Goodbye,” to “Seremei Buguya,” which is a sorrowful ballad, the record is an undeniable reflection to Andy Palacio and a testament to the fact that they are still very much here; proving there is instinctual celebratory style that is this sound.

When I think of Central American music, I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would find something like this. To make things even better, The Garifuna Collective’s Ayó is being released in the US the same day as their collaboration with Danny Michel’s Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me. Together, these two albums are absolutely superb.

Do not miss this experience.

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