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Discover the History of

Punta Rock

Pen Cayetano  The King of Punta Rock

Pen Cayetano is a trailblazer in Garifuna culture, known for his contributions as a visual artist and musical pioneer.

In the late 1970s, Cayetano led the evolution of traditional Garifuna music, known as punta, into the popular genre of Punta Rock, introducing the first contemporary Garifuna rhythm. His songs, mostly in Garifuna language, call for pride and awareness (Uwala Busiganu – Don’t be ashamed of your culture). He innovated the use of turtle shells as a percussion instrument, giving his Turtle Shell Band its unique name. The band was formed in 1980 with original members including Peter Jeep Lewis, Myme Martinez, Faltas Norberto, Bernard „Higgins“ Higginio, and Mohobub Flores. Together they paved the road for future dynamic Punta Rock artists.

Punta Rock gave the Garifuna people a global platform to express political, social, and economic issues, and strengthened the cultural awareness and national identity of all ethnic groups in Belize. Punta Rock gained international recognition at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 1983 and 1986 with performances by the Turtle Shell Band.

In 1990 Pen Cayetano and his family immigrated to Germany where they formed the band „The Cayetanos“ in 1998. With their recordings „Punta Rock“ in 2000 and „Home Belize“ in 2007, the Cayetanos have earned a respected place in the Punta Rock genre.

For his contribution to art, music and culture in Belize, Pen Cayetano received numerous awards: 2013 M.B.E. by her Majesty Queen Elisabeth from England, 2018 Meritorious Service Award by the Government of Belize, 2018 Garifuna Music Lifetime Achievement Award’ in New City and 2020 Artist Emeritus Award by the Government of Belize