commission for Celebration from the
Honourable Philip S. W. Goldson
Mr. Reneau has gathered a wide variety of Belizean artists to perform a broad collection of music. The album begins with Belize, Belize Theme with undertones of the National Anthem. This is followed by Bless This Land sung by noted soprano Daphne Sheran. The first movement of the work is dedicated to the culture and influence of the Creole descendants of early African settlements in Belize.
The album then moves into the Maya traditional music with a hint of Mestizo influence - marimbas, harps etc. One of the nicest pieces in this movement is Sun Chilan, an ancient Mayan Harp melody. Following this is a movement dedicated to the Garinagu including the distinctly Belizean Punta Rock. Andy Palacio contributes 2 of the tracks in this movement - Aba Umalali and Dis da fu We both with new arrangements by Mr. Reneau.
The most unique element of this album is the arrangement, done mostly by Mr. Reneau with a few tracks arranged by Richard Morley, Lynn Young and Michael Hyde. This team has taken the eclectic and sometimes non-complimentary sounds of the various musical styles and combined them into a flowing melody capturing part of the essence of Belize. Although Celebration is the brainchild of Frances Reneau, a large portion of its success is due to the talents of the musical artists involved with it. They, like the music, represent an emergence of the diversity in Belizean music. This music is part of the complex cultural tapestry called Belize. It would be impossible to capture all of the nuances of Belize and Belizeans; however, Celebration is truly a celebration of the rich Belizean culture.
The Belize Arts Council will be presenting Celebration as expressed through music, dance and drama at the Bliss Institute on September 4, 5 and 6. Tickets are available for $7 at the Bliss Institute. From hearing the music this performance is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of this year's September Celebrations.
The album was recorded in Belize City in August and September of 1995.