Garifuna Collective plays infectious beats from the coast of Belize _lowres

The Garifuna Collective

The Garifuna Collective performs this weekend at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell, in the Belize Pavilion and on the Jazz & Heritage Stage. They sing with joy and passion. And their uplifting music, infused with infectious beats, is sure to inspire dancing.

Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective’s 2007 album, “Wátina,” was praised on an international level and drew attention to the Garifuna people of Belize, an Afro-Amerindian community. The Garifuna are descendants of enslaved West Africans who live in various parts of Central America, along the Caribbean coast.

Although Palacio has died since the release of “Wátina,” his band continues to produce soulful and invigorating songs, rooted in their heritage. The members of the group, who come from all over Belize, sing in the Garifuna language, often all at once, and include call-and-response patterns in the African tradition, giving their music a communal feel. The women’s voices come across as strong and confident.

While the group promotes punta rhythms — a genre of music that was developed by the Garifuna people — they sometimes incorporate electric guitars, making their music sound both modern and traditional.