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Andy Palacio (BZ)

Andy Palacio (December 2, 1960 – January 19, 2008) was a Belizean Punta musician.

He was born and raised in the coastal village of Barranco. Palacio sang mainly in Garifuna, a language of mixed Arawak and African roots, but also composed English-only songs. He was the first musical artist from Belize to have a video on international television. He received the award for “Best New Artist” at the Caribbean Music Awards in 1991.

Palacio has served as a head of the National Institute of Culture and History and named a cultural ambassador. He has released over five original albums beginning with “Nabi” in 1990 up to his latest release in the 2000s. He has also traveled widely promoting and performing Garifuna music.

Palacio briefly hosted a television program on Channel 5 named after him and featuring works from Belizeans. He also wrote the theme music for Channel 5’s newscast.

On March 14, 2007, Palacio released, “Wátina”, which he considered to be his masterpiece. The album features guest appearances from other prominent Garifuna artists including Paul Nabor and is produced by Stonetree Records.

Wátina became one of the most critically acclaimed world music albums of 2007. It was nominated for the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards and in October, 2007, Palacio received the prestigious WOMEX Award. In November, Palacio became the first Caribbean and Central American artist to be designated a UNESCO Artist for Peace.

On January 19th, 2008, at the age of 47, Andy Palacio passed away following a massive and extensive stroke, a heart attack and respiratory failure.