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Musician Andy Palacio of Belize Dies at Age 47

Musician Andy Palacio used music as a method of cultural preservation.  He died Saturday at age 47.
Miguel Medina
/
AFP/Getty Images
Musician Andy Palacio used music as a method of cultural preservation. He died Saturday at age 47.

Andy Palacio, a musician and cultural icon in Belize, died Saturday after he suffered a stroke and a heart attack that triggered respiratory failure. He was 47 years old.

Palacio was a Garifuna — descended from shipwrecked slaves who settled on the east coast of Central America. Through his music, Palacio sought to preserve the vanishing culture.

"Music, being the thing that I love most, I decided to use music as a medium for cultural preservation," he said in a 2007 interview on All Things Considered.

"I remember an elderly Garifuna statesman here in Belize saying we cannot stop Garifuna culture from dying and that all we can do is delay its death," Palacio said. "I hope that's not true."

Yasser Musa, president of the National Institute of Culture and History in Belize, talks with Melissa Block about Palacio's music and legacy.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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