JACOB H. CARRUTHERS FOR INNER CITY STUDIES
African Percussion The Garifuna Artist, Rhodel "Rhodee" Castillo, does not like to territorialize himself. First and foremost he is a proud Garifuna, raised in the coastal Garifuna communities of Hopkins Village and Dangriga Town in the Central American country of Belize. At a tender age, Rhodee's musical experience took a life of it's own within the cradle of his Garifuna culture. He was inspired to be a singer/artist by family members, local musicians and performers. Musicians such as Joseph "Joe Thump" Castillo, Junior Aranda, Paul Nabor, "Gabaga" Williams, Perfecta "Mass" Ramirez, a grand aunt, and many others who serenaded the community during the holiday seasons. After graduating from Belize College of Arts and Science and Technology (BELCAST), Rhodee immigrated to the United States in 1986, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Chicago State University, two years later. In 1994 he received a Master's Degree from Roosevelt University, also in Chicago, all the time keeping his heart and mind close to his Garifuna roots.
Rhodee co-founded the Progressive Garifuna Alliance (PGA), an organization dedicated to the preservation and the advancement of the Garifuna Culture worldwide. Under Rhodee's strong leadership, the PGA's contributions to the Multi-Media Exhibit, The Garifuna Town Meetings, and the Annual Chicago land. Celebrations of Garifuna Culture, with proceeds benefiting the communities in Belize, have been very successful. Rhodee also contributed as a consultant and artist to "The Garifuna Journey", a documentary film by Andrea Leland and Kathy Berger. This film opens with Rhodee's poem "Our Children Must Know", demands that the truth to be told about the Garifuna history. The screening of this film at the Chicago Field Museum's African History Series Program opened the eyes of many new admirers and brought a profound respect for the Garifuna history and lifestyle.
Tags: Blues, Creative Musician, Garfuna, R&B, Soul, Traditional Ethnic Drums, Vocal
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