Umalali Singers and Garifuna Collective performed at the Winter Olympics

The Garifuna Collective featuring the Umalali Women Singers performed at the Cultural Olympiad as part of the official festivities for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.  The performance was part of a two-week North American tour that included performances in Seattle, Washington, San Diego and Chico, California, as well as New Hampshire.  The headliners on the tour were vocalists Desiree Diego, Sofia Blanco, and Marcella Torres. The women were accompanied on stage by musicians Joshua Arana, Denmark Flores, Sam Harris, Wilton Lewis and Al Ovando. This was the Collective’s first return to North America since their extremely successful summer tour in 2009. However, unlike the open-air festivals that welcomed the collective last summer, this tour saw the Collective performing in “soft seat” theatre environments.  

Collective engineer/musician Al Ovando served as the road manager on the tour and said, “We have come a long way and every tour brings a new experience. Just as audiences learn about our music and culture, we also learn from each performance and we get better every time.” Producer Ivan Duran, of Stonetree Records added, “This group is very original in the way they present Garifuna music to the world. Nobody sounds like them. They continue to define contemporary roots music and they keep reaching new audiences every year.” 

Originally reported at

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