Aurelio Martinez, a voice of the Garifuna — afro-descendants in Honduras — released his fourth album on Jan. 20, titled, “Darandi,” which he described to teleSUR as "reflecting 30 years of my musical career," from the time he was playing drums in the streets to the live recording of this last album in the U.K.
“At that time, my people did not believe that a Garifuna artist could be internationally famous,” he said over the phone from New York, where the artist sought shelter at his mother's house, after the 2009 coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. A wave of violence and systematic human rights violations followed the coup, leading to a large number of almost 100,000 Garifunas emigrating to New York, and taking up residence mostly in the Bronx.
“My challenge is to give to the young Garifunas a little bit of pride for their culture; they usually prefer other cultures because there is no positive example among the Garifunas,” he told teleSUR.
At home or at school, the Garifuna culture is not easily passed on to children, although since UNESCO declared the Garifuna language an “Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2001, the state was forced to develop bilingual schools.