African Music Encyclopedia




Chatuye play original Garifuna (pronounced "ga-Rif-una") drum and percussion music from Belize, Hondorus, and Guatemala. Since their inception in 1981 Chatuye has had eight different permutations including approximately 40 members. Many move back and forth from Belize and Los Angeles (where the band is currently based). The Garifuna people are also known as Garinagu (plural), Caribs, Black Caribs, or Black Carib Indians. Their heritage is a blend of African and Caribbean Indian. Garifuna is also the name of their language. The Garinagu are said to be descendents of shipwrecked Africans newly arrived in the New World as slaves more than 400 years ago.

Though Chatuye is currently based in the U.S., the music they play is true to their Garifuna heritage mesmerizing audiences with their vibrant Caribbean drumming (somewhat akin to Haitian music), turtle shell percussion, and uninhibited singing style.

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