Belizean Music is Simple, yet Extraordinary

Garinagu people of Belize
Reading Time: 2 mins

Belizean music is made up of a mixture of the CreoleMestizoGarifuna, and Maya cultures. Each culture is known for a special music genre, but the general population listens and dances to everything.

You might believe that the music of Belize has achieved little worldwide recognition, but with one out of every three Belizeans living in the U.S., and international stars such as Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective winning the award of the top 100 Greatest World Music Albums of All Time, Belizean music has made its rounds.

Below you will find popular music by the various cultures of Belize.


Whenever I think of a true Belizean rhythm, the first thing that comes to mind is Brukdown, it is the loud music heard almost every day blasting from the houses of neighbors. This genre was created by the Kriol culture, with great innovators such as Leela Vernon and Mr. Peters and his Boom and Chime band. Often, the music is made by paring instruments such an accordion, electric guitar, steel drums, banjo, a donkey’s jawbone and turtle shells – it’s amazing.


The instrument of choice for the Mestizo is the Marimba – a percussion instrument that looks like a Xylophone. With the marimba originating from West Africa, there’s more to this story than I personally know; it is believed that a form of this instrument was brought to Guatemala, Mexico and Belize by slaves in the 1500s. Since then it has been modified and can now be heard in some villages of Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo and Toledo.


The Garinagu proudly showcase their culture, and music is a very important part of it. Their most popular music is called Punta: an upbeat, dancing tune that revolves around the beating of drums and the movement of your hips. One artist that has done a great deal for Belizean music in the international music scene is Andy Palacio. With his album: Watina, he steered away from the popular Punta Rock genre toward Paranda, and by doing so, he tapped into the soulful side of Garifuna music and got people listening instead of only dancing.


The Maya equally share the love of the Marimba music, to the point that it is known as the national instrument of Guatemala. Since I already discussed it above, let’s talk about another traditional instrument of the Maya: the harp. The Maya harp is created from rainforest hardwoods such as Mahogany by using special handmade tools and is part of an age-old tradition. Take a look at the video below of Mr. Florencio Mess, a master harpist that lives in San Pedro Columbia, a small village in Toledo.

Do you have any favourites? I would love your feedback.



Reader Interactions


  1. Rehinalio maquinRe says

    I am a kekchi maya living in Toledo. I play the marimba. My family does cultural tours that feature the marimba and chocolate making tours aswell.

  2. juls says

    Hi.. Do you the specific or type of marimba that exist in Belize?? And the cultural significance it has to the country?

  3. Ana says

    Hi, did you know that the Marimba is actually a guatemalan instrument. It is believes by many people that it belongs to Mexico even, but is completely guatemalan and Guatemala is the only country that counts with the special tree that this is made of. 🙂

  4. Agness says

    Wow, did not know that locals can be so passionate about music. Never heard anything like this before, there are so many great varieties of instruments there. I used to play piano but marimba looks so much fun to play.

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