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Garifuna Collective Returns from Performance at Winter Olympics
posted (February 22, 2010)

The Garifuna Collective and Umalali Singers flew into Belize today after a two week North American tour. They crisscrossed the west coast of the United States with stops in Seattle, Washington, San Diego in California, and the jetted across to the east coast for shows in Boston and New Hampshire. But the highlight of the tour was a performance at the Cultural Olympiad as part of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. We met the band at the airport this morning and got their reaction to the tour – where – strange as it sounds - for the first time they got to play to audiences who were sitting down. Desiree Diego told us how the Women’s Collective got them to stand up.

Desiree Diego, Umalali Singers
“You have to make that change when you are on stage because you have to make them feel that you’re connected with them so you have to try and get them to come out of their seats, which they did, because when you invite them up, there are even students that we perform for and when we ask them to come up on stage and they come and they dance along with us. They even sing along with us.”

Joshua Arana, Garifuna Collective
“Music speaks one language, it only speaks music. That is a universal language, you either like it or you don’t, and the thing about it is that for some reason people tend to appreciate something that is different and what we bring to the table is different from what they are used to so it has been exceptional.”

Sam Harris, Garifuna Collective
“I could see people get the effect of what the music is trying to portray and sometimes you look at it and you see the reaction of people. One of the things I base on is the writers, the people who write, the people who give the results the next day, the ones who write for the magazines. Those are the ones who I really try to bank the whole thing on and the write-ups were all right, they were good.”

Keith Swift,
“What was the reception like?”

Joshua Arana,
“It was great, it was exceptional. As a matter of fact, it was far better than even the promoters thought it would turn out to be.”

Keith Swift,
“What was the highlight of this tour?”

Joshua Arana,
“This one was Vancouver of course. We played for the Olympics and we had a sold out crowd; even before we got there we had a sold out crowd and the music was received very well so it was great.”

Desiree Diego,
“The highlight for me was the women on stage, for us taking upfront and being on stage like we usually do but at first we were at backstage and now we are taking the lead.”

Al Ovando, Road Manager
“Many highlights, new places for the bands, every time we go somewhere else it is a new thing, every place is like totally different from the next so everywhere had some unique element and really really good for the band and a nice experience for me too.”

Keith Swift,
“What was the highlight for you?”

Sam Harris,
“There was a couple but I think the Vancouver came out really good and I think New Hampshire was really good too. The rest was fair but I think those two were the best highlights.”

The Garifuna Collective has performed in over 20 countries on 3 continents. They will perform in Europe this July.

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