The Sounds of Garifuna Music and Dance (as promised)
As is to be expected, Garifuna music is heavily influenced by West African rhythm of dance and drums. It also reflects a lengthy oral tradition of call and response as well as ancestor worship. Latin American and Caribbean music is characterized by sentiment and motion; Garifuna music is about events, rituals, and concerns. Dancing and music is fundamental at birthday celebrations, rites of passage, festivals, sports bars, and a more reverent version in church.
Garifuna musical instruments are usually hollow drums, including tenor drums, counter-rhythmic drums, and bass drums. Most of their music is percussion based, so most of their other instruments involve scratching, beating, or tapping. They use gourd maracas filled with dried seeds, similar to other Latin American customs. Sometimes they stretch wires over the hollow drums to add a buzzing noise similar to West African music. Most instruments are made from natural objects (other than bottle percussion) such as turtle shells, wood, and seashells. There are variety of music styles, with differing rhythms and expressions depending on the event and time of year.
In New Orleans, the Garifuna have dances especially for the winter holidays. The New Orleanian Garifuna people follow a man dressed in coconut leaves (the Guarine) , who dances a traditional dance called the punta. The Pastorales, a female choir singing songs about rural Garifuna life, join him. Flandigano, another male member of the celebration, dances through the streets on stilts. Garifuna in New Orleans also have similar death rites to their counterparts, displaying food for the deceased. Family members sing, dance, and find comfort around the displayed food.
Serrano, Amy. “From Punta to Chumba: Garifuna Music and Dance in New Orleans”. Louisiana Living Traditions. http://www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Articles_Essays/garifuna2.html