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GAHFU Performance

2 Mar

Hundreds of people, on Sunday, Feb. 26, attended the Afro-Latinx Festival at the Museum of Latin American Art, where beside art, there were crafts, food and musical performances. Of the performances, I had the pleasure of recording some snippets of video with my iPhone SE of performers from the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, also known as GAHFU.

The website of GAHFU says its mission is “to serve the Garifuna-American, Caribbean-American and Central American community in the greater Los Angeles and Long Beach area, the United States and abroad through cultural education programs, outreach, advocacy and social services programs.”

The UNESCO website describes the Garifuna, as “a population of mixed origin incorporating cultural elements of indigenous Caribbean and African groups, the Garifuna settled along the Atlantic coast of Central America after being forced to flee from the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in the eighteenth century. Today, Garifuna communities mainly live in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize.

The Garifuna language belongs to the Arawakan group of languages and has survived centuries of discrimination and linguistic domination. It is rich in tales (úraga) originally recited during wakes or large gatherings. The melodies bring together African and Amerindian elements, and the texts are a veritable repository of the history and traditional knowledge of the Garifuna, such as cassava-growing, fishing, canoe-building and the construction of baked mud houses. There is also a considerable amount of satire in these songs, which are accompanied by various drums and dances, which the spectators may join in.”