Pen Cayetano & The Cayetanos
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Pen Cayetano & The Cayetanos

Dangriga, Stann Creek, Belize | SELF

Dangriga, Stann Creek, Belize | SELF
Band World Reggae


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"Personality of the month"

"Punta Rock is a creation of Pen Cayetano in 1980, just as Belize former British Honduras was about to be independent. After playing with different bands and performing also in Mexico and Guatemala and learning about different cultures Cayetano realised that his people the Garifuna had their own strong roots. He

Pen Cayetano was born in the Garifuna capital Dangriga in the Stann Creek District of Southern Belize in 1954. In 1980 he formed a band on his front porch in Dangria founding the musical movement known as 'Punta Rock'. The band was called 'The Original Turtle Shell Band' referring to the drums used by drummers in the band.
Combining traditional Garifuna songs and their drum rolls with the amplification found in a rock band, Pen Cayetano coined the phrase punta rock because the result was a faster rhythm to the traditional dance styles. Today the punta rock style has evolved to include keyboards, electric drum machines and electric guitars.
As for Pen Cayetano, he continues to play the beats in Belize, Germany and the world stage. He is an accomplished and highly acclaimed artist painter.

Twenty Questions - The July Interview
with Pen Cayetano According to your biographical information, we understand that you were born in the town of Dangriga in the Stann Creek District of Southern Belize in 1954. What was it like as a child growing up in the Dangriga? How has the district changed since your youth?
Pen Cayetano: As a youth the people in Dangriga were all cultural living (fishing, cassava processing and farming). They were also speaking their own language the garifuna, for example my father didn't tolerate any English speaking at our home. . "Punta Rock is a creation of Pen Cayetano". What does the importance this music is playing today mean to you?
Pen Cayetano: It's a cultural awareness and Belizean have their own music the Punta Rock. I'm proud that my creation came out to be so great and important for Belize. We understand that you live in Germany, Europe. Please give a brief insight into what life is like for a Belizean living in Europe?
Pen Cayetano: A Belizean can either go to drugs and Rock'n Roll or to education. Learning another culture and language is an acess for me. To live in the first world where everything is made and moving very fast you can learn a lot. How often do you get to visit Belize? Are there any festivals in Belize that you attend regularly - as a visitor or a musician? What
are your next scheduled concerts in Belize?
Pen Cayetano: Every year I visit Belize in November to do music and a major exhibition to show my new paintings. My next musical show will be in Dangriga 18. and 19. November 2004. I will also have an exhibition with my paintings at the Culture House (former Government House) in Belize City, starting on the 4. November 2004. Are you still in contact with the original band members of 'The Original Turtle Shell Band'?
Pen Cayetano: Yes I'm still in contact with the original band members of 'The Original Turtle Shell Band'. Brother Higgins and Faltas are living in Los Angeles, Myme is in Chicago and Mohobub is in Europe at the moment and will meet me in Germany. Two years ago Mohobub and myself recorded the album 'Best of Punta Rock' here in Germany. A reunion of the Original Turtle Shell Band is planned for 2005. We read that your creation of Punta Rock was a reaction to the realisation that the Garifuna youth of Belize was loosing their
cultural foundations. Punta Rock gave them something to step with the
time. What is your take on today's Garifuna Youth? Are they more aware
of their own strong roots in the 21st century?
Pen Cayetano: I do believe that they are aware, but they must speak their language. Which art plays the stronger role in your life today - music or
Pen Cayetano: Painting and music both go together. Can you tell us a highlight of your personal life??
Pen Cayetano: My personal highlight was when my three kids were born in Dangriga and I'm more than gald that they are playing the Punta Rock in Germany. Another highlight in my life is that I'm glad to be alive and healthy and that I created the Punta Rock for the people of Belize and the world. What do you do to keep in shape? What is your favourite past-time occupation?
Pen Cayetano: To keep in shape I do running, gardening, nature hiking and biking. What is your greatest outdoor adventure ever experienced in Belize?
Pen Cayetano: Diving on the reefs and exploring the underwater world was great. What is your most favourite Belizean food dish? Can you offer the recipe?
Pen Cayetano: My favourite dish is Hudut: mashed green plantains with a fishsoup based on coconutmilk. What is your most favourite locally grown fruit, what the most favourite vegetable??
Pen Cayetano: My favourite fruit is mango and the vegetable is the tomato. Have you ever had the luck to see any of Belize's exotic wildlife such as a jaguar, tapir or the like? Have you ever been bitten by a scorpion, snake or spider?
Pen Cayetano: Yes I have seen the tapir, jaguar and many more. I was bitten by a scorpian and a spider. How many of the Maya archaeological sites in Belize have you visited? Which site was the most fascinating for you?
Pen Cayetano: I visited three sites in Belize: Xunaantunich, Altun Ha and Caracol. I was impressed of Xunaantunich. What is the greatest asset of Belize?
Pen Cayetano: The greatest asset for Belize is to have the land and the sea. What are the top five books we should all read in our lifetime? What books are you reading at the moment? Which book do you plan to buy the next trip to the bookstore?
Pen Cayetano: First of all a person should read a book portraying to their culture and history and then they could read any other four books. Who would be on your list of favourite Belizean artists, writers and musicians? Who would be on your list of favourite non-Belizean artists,writers and musicians? What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Pen Cayetano: Belizean: Evan X. Hyde and Assad Shoman (writer), Benjamin Nicholas and Louis Belisle (painter), Mohobub Flores and Myme Martinez (Music). How would you answer the question "What is (the) Belizean Culture?"
Pen Cayetano: Belizean Culture is a combination of many cultures that has blended into the Punta Rock music. Belize is so ecologically diverse with natural beauty abundant. What do you consider the most beautiful spot in all of Belize?
Pen Cayetano: Dangriga. What is your favourite vacation spot outside of Belize?
Pen Cayetano: Netherlands. This Edition of focuses on Belize's Cayo District. What is your favourite place/spot in the Cayo?
Pen Cayetano: The Blue Angel Club. What do you consider the biggest challenge for Belize and Belizeans in the 21st century?
Pen Cayetano: Education and cultural preservation. What would you most want someone reading this article to remember about what Pen Cayetano has to say?
Pen Cayetano: I'm just an artist living in your time.

- Belize magazin


Albums produced by Pen and Ingrid Cayetano
Pen Cayetano “In mi Country” 1994 MC
Pen Cayetano “Sweet Africa” 1996 MC
The Cayetanos “Punta Rock” 2000 CD
Turtle Shell Band “The Beginning” 2001 CD
Pen Cayetano & Mohobub Flores “The best of Punta Rock” 2002 CD
Pen Cayetano “In mi Country” 2003 CD
Malí Cayetano “Not doing well” 2005 CD
Isabel Flores & Lady Lard “Garifuna PUNTA Anthology” 2006 CD
Pen Cayetano & The Cayetanos “Home Belize” 2007 CD



Pen Cayetano, 3 Aranda Crescent, Dangriga, Belize

Biographical dates
1954 born in Dangriga, Belize
1960 - 69 Primary education Holy Ghost school
1970 freelance work as musician and artist
1980 creation of Punta Rock music
1990 -2009 residency in Ahrweiler, Germany
2009 Opening Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery Dangriga
Member of Bildkunst, Gema, bscAp

Pen Cayetano was born 1954 in Dangriga in the southern part of Belize. He is a self-taught painter and musician. As an Ambassador of Belizean Art and Music Pen Cayetano has had many exhibitions in the USA. In 1990 he moved his studio to Ahrweiler, Germany, where he lived with his family. Cayetano continues to portray the Garifuna culture but also painted landscapes of Germany, his second home. His paintings have been shown in Germany, Hong Kong, Austria, Switzerland, England and the USA. In July 2009 he moved back to Belize with his German wife Ingrid and they opened the Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery in his hometown Dangriga the cultural capital.
Pen Cayetano is regarded by many as the "King" of Punta Rock music. His creation was a way to revive and preserve Garifuna music amongst the younger generation. Pen Cayetano and the Turtle Shell Band introduced this new genre to the world in 1980, at his Studio on 5 Moho Road, in Dangriga. Pen fused traditional Garifuna instrumentation including the garawon (drum), rattles, and turtle shells with modern electronic instruments. His lasting legacy, however, lies in his lyrics, which gave the political, social and economic issues of the Belizean Garifuna people a global platform, and along the way inspired a new generation to apply their talents to their own ancestral forms and unique concerns.
Pen Cayetano taught his sons Beni and Ibo and his daughter Malí the art of his music, and along with his wife Ingrid, they all make up the musical band the ´Cayetanos´. In 1998 was their first public performance in a nightclub in Germany. Since then they have toured many cities and festivals. They recorded their first CD in 2000 entitled ´Punta Rock´ and “Home Belize” in 2007.