James Lovell is a Garifuna Artist who is very passionate about his heritage and is working diligently for the empowerment and advancement of the Garifuna people and culture. James believes the Garifuna children here in the United States of America can be proud of their heritage if the Garifuna art forms, such as dance, music, poems, books and drama are exposed in the mass media and on the world’s performing platforms. It is an honor to grace the pages of Garifuna Movement with James Lovell’s amorous works through the years and how he is keeping our Garifuna culture alive through his artistry, teachings and even through creating his own genre of Garifuna music called AfriGarifuna Rhythms.
James Lovell was born in the village of Mango Creek, but grew up in Dangriga Town, Belize, Central America. Born with the gift to sing, he had several opportunities to perform in elementary and high school talent shows in Belize and neighboring countries.
As a young aspiring musician, James was very much influenced by Pen Cayetano and the Turtle Shell Band. Pen Cayetano is the legendary “King of Punta Rock Music.” He is responsible for the creation of this new Garifuna genre since its inception into “mainstream” music in 1979. Punta Rock Music is contemporary Garifuna music that utilizes the shell of turtles and other percussion instruments to create a fast tempo music played with lyrics which addressed the political, social and economical issues of the people of Belize.
After graduating from Ecumenical High School in Dangriga Town, James joined the Belize Police Force Band, where he learned to play several instruments such as the guitar, bass guitar, clarinet, euphonium saxophone and keyboards. While in the Police Band, James took advanced correspondence courses from the Royal School of Music. He learned to read, write and to arrange musical compositions.
In 1990, James migrated to the United States. He put his music career on hold to join the United States Marine Corps. Four years later he received an honorable discharge.