22 January 2008 The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today mourned the death of Andy Palacio, a Belizean singer and musician and one of the agency’s Artists for Peace.
“Andy Palacio chose to sing in Garifuna, a language at the crossroads of several linguistic legacies which was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001,” said Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO’s Director-General. “He thus worked for intangible heritage which is particularly dear to us.”
Mr. Palacio, who passed away on 19 January, rose to fame both in his native Belize and worldwide for his mastery of Punta Rock, a musical style with its roots in Garifuna.
“His premature death is an immense loss for Belizean culture and for all those who are open to the diversity of the world’s music,” Mr. Matsuura noted.
Appointed as an Artist for Peace in October 2007, Mr. Palacio also served as both Cultural Ambassador and Deputy Administrator of the National Institute of Culture and History of Belize.