Descendants of ship-wrecked Africans who then mixed with indigenous Arawak and Carib Amerindians on the Caribbean island of St Vincent in the 17th century, the Garifuna people settled in Belize in the 19th century after being forced from St Vincent by the British. The Garifuna people, who were never enslaved, have a proud and rich history and culture.
Let us share this unique culture with you in a truly “hands-on” way with an
interactive lesson in traditional drumming, dancing or drum-making. Or, just sit back and enjoy a traditional group performance, or ask about other options like singing or language lessons��"it is all completely up to you.
Our drum lessons can be booked one-to-one, or as part of a small or large group. Each participant gets their own drum to play on, and our instructor Ray will make sure that everybody has fun!
The lesson will begin with Ray giving a brief background to Garifuna culture and drumming, and showing you how to hold and strike your large bass "Segunda" drum. He will show you a basic Paranda rhythm, and when you can hold a beat, he will play alongside you on the smaller, faster and higher-pitched Primero drum while singing traditional songs.
Moving along at a pace to suit you, he will then introduce you to other traditional rhythms, including Punta, Chumba, Hungu-Hungu, Jonkunu and Gunjei.
Our drum-making lessons show you the basics of making a Garifuna drum - from chiselling, planing and sanding a solid log into shape, preparing the deerskin,
making the natural wood pins to tighten the ropes, attaching the skin using
jungle vines, to the final finishing touches. How much you learn will
depend on how long your lesson is.
We will show you how it is done the traditional way - without the use of power tools - so be prepared to warm-up your arm muscles! It is up to you how "hands-on" you want the lesson to be.
Dancing and more
Whether you are an experienced dancer or have two left feet, Ray will get you up and moving around to beats of his ancestors. You will learn the traditional men’s and women’s dances to the paranda, punta and chumba rhythms.
For the less energetic, you can simply hire our professional traditional group to play for your event
We offer a variety of flexible, excellent value half-day packages.
Choose which activities from the list below you want to make up your half-day package and we will tailor it to suit you:
30 minute traditional group show