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Traditional Garifuna Drumming Explained

Garifuna Drum Method presents the historic first intersection of Amerindian and African drumming, demonstrated by master drummers Joshua Arana and Chinny Flores.


Garifuna Drum Method is the culmination of a seven-year effort to historically document and translate these traditional rhythms for contemporary audiences; designed to be suitable for children, college workshops, and professional drummers and percussionists. Cultural vignettes, improvisations, songs, musical notations, and references are also included.


“The Garifuna are the descendants of Carib, Arawak and African peoples, and represent an intermingling of their respective blood, cultures and rhythms, through a common heritage. Their root drumming styles hark back a thousand years or more. The ancient hand drum designs, which utilize snares over the top, are very rare and probably originated from the Orinoco Basin in South America, evolving into a hybrid of Amerindian and west African designs,” said Matthew Dougherty, co-producer of Garifuna Drum Method.


Seven essential rhythms are explained in detail by culturally knowledgeable instructors, and are presented in a simple manner for the recreational drummer, yet sophisticated enough for the serious roots percussionist.


During the development of the project, the Chicago Parks Department music program utilized intermediate drafts for children's drumming instruction with great success, and the earlier versions were also used in various college and university-level Caribbean Studies workshops.


“For all drummers and enthusiasts of Afro-Latin music, this DVD is a must own,” said Aaron Cohen, associate editor of Downbeat Magazine.

The DVD consists of 100 minutes of training and musical video in a six panel photographic digipak. Also included are music videos by the traditional acoustic Garifuna band Wamalali, and two songs by Paul Nabor/Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective recorded at Chicago's Millennium Park, as well as a collaborative & contemporary world music single Nanigi .


Garifuna Drum Method is being released as part of the ‘Tribute to Andy Palacio Concert Tour' beginning April 4 in New York City, with Joshua Arana performing as the primero Garifuna drummer.

Major contributors to the project include Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective, Rhodee Castillo, Adrian "Doc" Martinez, Emmeth Young, Oliver N. Greene PhD, D. A. Sonneborn PhD, Hazel Cayetano, E. Roy Cayetano, Tandu, Paul Nabor, Wamalali, Ludwig Palacio, Carlos Perrote, John Yost, Michael Dolan, Bill Latour, Ivan Duran and Stonetree Records.

Lubaantune Records is a wholly owned subsidiary of Belize World Music Publishing, and was created in 2007 to distribute audio and video recordings of traditional and contemporary music from southern Belize, in close association with Rosewood Studio and Wamalali FM Radio, Punta Gorda, Toledo District Belize. Rosewood Studio opened its doors in 2004 and is owned and operated by local Belizean Oscar Burke; and Wamalali FM Radio (‘Our Voices' in Garifuna) is owned and operated by Govell Morgan; who have been collaborating with Matthew Dougherty since 2000. Garifuna Drum Method is distributed in Belize by Stonetree Records.


For more information about Garifuna Drum Method, or to schedule interviews with Joshua Arana or Chinny Flores, please contact Joe Yost at (312) 218-2904 or email him at


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