The Garifuna Collective
Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective's 2007 album Wátina is one of the most praised world music albums ever released. On the cusp of tremendous fame, Andy passed away suddenly a year after Wátina was released, leaving the world to wonder just how big he could have become. His band has continued where Andy left off, and with Wátina producer Ivan Duran back at the helm, have produced a soul-stirring collection of songs inspired by their unique Afro-Amerindian cultural heritage. With a lineup that consists of the best musicians in the fertile Garifuna music scene, The Garifuna Collective promises to carry the torch of cultural preservation and promotion passed on by Andy Palacio far into the future.
Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me is Danny Michel’s 10th album, and first on a label in almost five years. The lyrically poignant, 3 time Juno nominated singer-songwriter’s new album is a gem, and brings Michel and his committed audience to Six Shooter Records.
"Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me" was recorded in Belize with The Garifuna Collective, a unique Afro-Amerindian cultural group. It is currently nominated for a Juno and released world wide through Stonetree Records (Belize), Cumbancha (U.S.) and Six Shooter Records (Canada) alongside a new album by The Garifuna Collective. “Black Birds” dives into the waves of Belize’s musical deep, featuring Maya guitar, turtle shells, donkey jaw-bone and traditional Garifuna segunda and primero drums. Michel cultivates lush rhythms and sounds as the perfect backdrop for his buoyantly eloquent songwriting style.
To make the record, Danny relocated from Ontario to the foot of the Xunantunich Mayan ruins in Benque Viejo del Carmen to work with pioneering producer Ivan Duran at Stonetree Records, a label/studio that has been instrumental in bringing the Belizean sound to the world. There he teamed up with members of the Garifuna Collective and the album came together unlike any before in Danny’s career. He arrived at the studio empty-handed and began by building the rhythms, adding layers until the songs took shape. The lyrics came last, which challenged Michel to work in reverse.
Inspired by the package of a mood ring, “What Colour Are You?” opens the album with a mellow reflection about true natures, painted as a spectrum of emotions and set against the sunset hues of Garifuna beats and backing vocals. Danny’s connection with Belize goes beyond artistic inspiration; he also founded the DM Ocean Academy Fund to provide scholarship money for students of the Caye Caulker Ocean Academy, the very first high school on Caye Caulker, a coral island off the coast of Belize. To date, Danny has raised over $44,000.00
Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me saturates Danny’s wholehearted imagery in a rich tropical palette, and shows his unreserved artistic commitment to the cultural experience of making a record abroad.