Punta is a Garifuna music & dance style performed at celebrations and festive occasions. Contemporary punta arose in the last thirty years of the twentieth century in Belize It also has a following in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Southern Mexico and the United States. It is a circle dance in duple rhythm: one couple dances in the middle of the circle a while the other participants sing and clap their hands. Punta uses the call and response patterns in songs. Lyrics may be in Garifuna, Kriol, English or Spanish.

Prominent broadcasters of Punta music include WAVE Radio and Krem Radio.

Dance, music and lyrics

The word punta may be a latinization of an ancient West African rhythm called bunda, or "buttocks" in the Mandé language. The punta dance is also known by the name kuliao (from Spanish culeado). The style has popular links with funeral rites and ancestor worship.

Punta dance is a mimetic cock-and-hen mating dance with rapid movements of the buttocks and hips while the upper torso remains motionless. Couples attempt to dance more stylistically and seductively, with better hip movements, than their competitors. This most popular dance in Garifuna culture is performed at wakes, holidays, parties, and other social events. Punta lyrics are usually composed by women. A Garifuna elder, Rutilia Figueroa, states: "The Garifuna sing their pain. They sing about their concerns. They sing about what’s going on. We dance when there is a death. It’s a tradition [meant] to bring a little joy to the family, but every song has a different meaning. Different words. The Garifuna does not sing about love. The Garifuna sings about things that reach your heart."

Chumba and hunguhungu, circular dances in triple rhythm, are often combined with punta.


Musician and visual artist Pen Cayetano and the Turtle Shell Band introduced punta rock in 1978, at 5 Moho Street, Dangriga, Belize. His songs in the Garifuna language added electric guitar to the traditional punta rhythm. Cayetano's style caught on quickly in Belize and from there spread to Garifuna communities in Honduras and Guatemala.

Young progressive Garifuna men and women who looked to American style and did not carry on traditions experienced a resurgence of their culture. More artists began composing Garifuna songs to traditional Garifuna rhythms. His lyrics gave the political, social and economic issues of Belizean Garifuna people a global platform and inspired a new generation to apply their talents to their own ancestral forms and unique concerns.

Punta musicians in Central America, the US, and elsewhere made further advances with the introduction of the piano, woodwind, brass and string instruments. Punta-rock has grown since the early 1980s to include other electronic instruments such as the synthesizer and electric bass guitar as well as other percussive instruments.

Punta along with Reggaeton music are predominantly popular and influential among the entire population in Honduras. Often mixed with Spanish, Punta has a widespread audience due to the immigration of Hondurans and Guatemalan to the United States, other parts of Latin America and Europe, notably Spain. Punta bands in Honduras such as Kazzabe, Shabakan, Silver Star, Los Rolands, Banda Blanca, Los Gatos Bravos and Grupo Zambat have appeal for Latin American migrant communities. Honduran Punta has caused Belizean and Guatemalan Punta to use more Spanish due to the commercial success achieved by bands that use it.

When Banda Blanca of Honduras sold over 3 million copies of "Sopa De Caracol" ("Conch Soup"), originally written by Belizean Chico Ramos, the Garifunas of Belize felt cheated but celebrated the success. The genre is continuing to develop a strong following in the United States and South America and the Caribbean.

Belizean punta is distinctive from traditional punta in that songs are usually in Kriol or Garifuna and rarely in Spanish or English. calypso and soca have had some effect on it. Like calypso and soca, Belizean punta provides social commentary and risqué humor, though the initial wave of punta acts eschewed the former. Calypso Rose, Lord Rhaburn and the Cross Culture Band assisted the acceptance of punta by Belizean Kriol people by singing calypso songs about punta - songs such as "Gumagrugu Watah" and "Punta Rock Eena Babylon".

(from the article Punta of Wikipedia)

Selected examples

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List of punta musicians

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