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GAHFU’s Garífuna Cultural Presentations Available For Hire at Colleges, Universities, Festivals

Updated: Jan 11, 2023



The Traditional Garifuna Drumming Ensemble is a 5 to 6 musicians - cultural vocal, dance, and drumming group based in Los Angeles, California. They are comprised of Garifuna men and women born in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and the United States. The traditional drummers are made up of Primera, Segunda, and Tercera drums, maracas, turtle shells, and Conch. They were formed out of the ranks of the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United’s (GAHFU) Garifuna Language & Culture Academy of Los Angeles. This group of Garifuna artists have evolved under the leadership of Cheryl L. Noralez, President and Founder of GAHFU. They perform a variety of genres among the most popular: Punta, Paranda, Wanaragua, Hüngühüngü, and Gunchei.



There is a variety of artistic and cultural expressions within Garifuna society but the most popular ones are the festive dances, town’s celebrations, and ceremonials.  Festive dances are observed on special cases celebrating the real Garifuna life.  Town’s celebrations are observed during festivals dedicated to the patron saint of each community.  Ceremonial dances take place during special events dedicated to the ancestors.  Festive dances have this joyful character such as: Paranda, Hüngühüngü, Punta, Wanaragua, Gunchei, and Chunba.


This is a protest dance by excellence and it is well-known as the Garifuna gathering dance.  All of the songs that are written using the Paranda rhythm are of masculine inspiration. The songs tell stories that satirize anguish, distress, anxiety, and happiness. These rhythm or dances are for all occasions, and they can be used to serenade and entertain any informal event.


This is also known as Fedu (Party), which is the feminine dance by excellence and very popularly celebrated during the Christmas festivities. All of the melodies that enhance this dance are uniquely of feminine inspiration.  These songs are loaded with stories telling of anguish, distress, and happiness.  It is danced by women of any age and the only masculine element present during the dance is made up of the banner bearer and the drummers.

Punta & Punta Rock

This is also known as Bángidi, Pakün or Lándânu; it is a Garifuna people’s funeral dance. It symbolizes family unity not only among the living but also among those who live in the spiritual world.  Punta is danced during wakes and in other ceremonies having to do with the passing of someone.  Its rhythm is engaging, and it can be danced in couples.  The lyrics are generally of feminine inspiration. As for Punta Rock, this is the evolution of one of most popular genres made famous by Banda Blanca and its worldwide hit Sopa de Caracol. The addition of electronic instruments to the traditional drums such as keyboard and electric guitar gives it the Punta Rock term.


This is known as the war dance of the Garifuna people.  It emerged during the colonial days, and it symbolizes the struggle against the European man.  It ridicules the expansionist pretentions of man to colonize abroad at the expense of Garinagu. Wanaragua’ s attire symbolizes the traditional European colonial clothing, using masks depicting Caucasian features as well as vividly colored crowns worn on their heads with which they depict the appearance of kings in Europe’s Colonial era.  Wanaragua is also known in Honduras as Masked Dance “Baile de Máscaros”. Wanaragua is now danced in the streets of Los Angeles every Christmas Day and New Year’s Day traveling from house to house from 9 in the morning until 10 in the evening.  They now charge $150 per house to dance for about 1 hour and it includes about 25 to 30 dancers, drummer, gayusa (singers), maraca player, and they travel in rented vans all over Los Angeles.  During their performance observers in the audience usually toss dollar bills of different denominations when they like a dance and his moves.  A very unique detail about the Wanaragua is that the dancer leads the Primera drummer by his moves as opposed to the drummer setting the beat drum for the dance to follow. Also, it is a male dance only and no women are traditionally allowed to dance; however, in this modern era, some females are part of the Wanaragua as dancers.


Gunchei is also known as Ina We (inna weh), and it is the revolutionary dance of Garifuna society.  It commemorates the advent of the French Revolution: a new system of liberation for those people who were oppressed.  In its beginnings, Gunchei was known as, by excellence, as the Garifuna aristocracy dance.

Chunba / Chumba

Chumba dance is a solo dance performed by a woman, often exhibiting a large degree of individual style.

This is the dance of ability and liberation of sluggish energy.  It is exclusive danced by males. It is danced in an individual form where the level of ability and skill in order to imitate the actions of the people around him.  It simulates excellence, virility, superiority to the genius who surrounds him.  Salvador Suazo states, “I reminisce about those celebrations back in my days in the Garifuna communities which have been slowly disappearing, it looks like those days will never be back.”


Charikanari is a processional mime and dance ritual with accompaniment provided by drums, harmonica, and a blown conch shell. The ritual features Two-Foot Cow, Devil, and other stock characters and is performed during the Christmas season with the wanaragua ritual. Charikanari begins on December 26 (Boxing Day) and is especially popular among children, who are particularly fond of “Two-Foot-Cow,” a man wearing cow horns, a cardboard mask, a long trench coat, and padded buttocks.

Give us a call for a quote:

Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United (GAHFU)

Long Beach, CA 90806

Cellphone: (323) 898-6841

Google Number: (323) 628-5403

Official Website:

Twitter: @gahfu

Facebook: GAHFU Garifuna

Instagram: @garifunaheritagefoundation

YouTube: @gahfu

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