Friday, December 7, 2007

2007 – THE YEAR OF ANDY PALACIO

Andy Palacio’s Wátina lands on the top of numerous Best of 2007 charts

December 2007 – Cementing its place as one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of 2007, the Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective album Wátina has been recognized by a growing number of international publications and radio charts as one of the best albums of the year, and in some cases praised as among the best albums of all time. While many Best of 2007 lists are yet to be announced, it is already apparent that Wátina will be one of the most unanimously revered world music albums in recent memory.

Wátina has been selected as the #1 album of the year by both Global Rhythm and Songlines, top world music magazines in the US and the UK respectively. The critics poll for UK music magazine fRoots named Wátina the #2 Album Of The Year (in what was reportedly a very close decision for the # 1 spot). In radio, European DJs participating in the prestigious World Music Charts Europe voted Wátina the #1 album of the year, above Tinariwen, Angelique Kidjo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Youssou N’Dour and other major figures in world music that also released albums this year.

The praise is not limited to world music specialists. As an example of the album’s long reach, the indie hipsters at Stylus Magazine included Wátina in the Top 50 albums of 2007, alongside artists such as Kanye West, Radiohead, M.I.A. and Arcade Fire. Montreal weekly Voir listed Wátina as a Top 10 World Music release for 2007. On the European continent, France’s trend-setting magazine Vibrations positioned Wátina in their wrap up of the 25 best albums of the year.

Mainstream press continues its praise with the UK daily The Guardian including the album in their “Top 1000 Albums to Listen to Before You Die.” The list featured an overview of some of the greatest albums of all time by major figures in popular music (Pink Floyd, Charlie Parker, Jaco Pastorius, The Police, Iggy Pop…and that’s just Andy’s companions in the “P” section!) and Wátina was one of very few world music titles included on the list.

Early and continuous acclaim for Wátina foreshadowed these high positions in the end of year charts and critics polls. Upon its release in the beginning of 2007, Afropop Worldwide dubbed it a “landmark release”. Newsday called Wátina “an album that invites superlatives… As revelatory as Paul Simon’s Graceland or the Buena Vista Social Club.” fRoots named it “an immediate world music classic.” Influential world music DJ and journalist Charlie Gillett wrote in the UK Observer Music Monthly that Wátina was “part of the soundtrack that defines 2007” Indeed, at the close of the year with Wátina in the top picks for 2007, these predictions have rung true.

These best-of lists put an exclamation point on what has been an incredible year for Andy Palacio and the worldwide recognition of Garifuna music. Palacio was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace and won the prestigious WOMEX Award in 2007. Wátina was also nominated for the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards. At home in Belize, the international success of Wátina has sparked a revival of Garifuna music, as young musicians have become inspired by Palacio’s example.

Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective will continue bringing their music to the world in 2008 with an ambitious touring schedule in North America and Europe. They will be joined on stage by members of Umalali whose album, The Garifuna Women’s Project will be released by Cumbancha in March 2008. Produced by Ivan Duran, who was also responsible for Wátina, the Umalali project will surely bring even more attention to the unique music and culture of the Garifuna people of Central America.



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