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Evan Belize is a native of Belize, Central America, more specifically, Gales Point Manatee, a little south of Belize City, next to Dangriga. In his later childhood he also lived in Belize City.Evan’s grandparents came from Africa to Belize, his grandfather on his father’s side, by way of Jamaica his grandmother on his father’s side had Igbo ancestry, his great grandmother had been an Igbo by the name of Nkechi (Gift of God). Evan has played in many groups and at different times has played many musical instruments. Drumming is his passion-- and “riddim!”

When it comes to rhythm , there are many Belizean rhythms: brukdon, lashway, brom, boom an’ shine, Soca, Samba... It all comes down to Africa. In Evan’s early days in Belize City he learned from the elder, Mr. Irving Veno, one of the great drummers of hand drums who would come out of Gales Point Manatee. And other drummers would come from Dangriga. Evan as a small boy, used to love to beat on card board boxes, cans, buckets, one of his favorites was the Quaker Oats box, believe it or not, it has a great sound!. He remembers he used to get into trouble with his mother, waking her up with his drumming.

But as he got older, Evan found himself having to face a different kind of trouble, playing the tribal boom an’ shine drums, and the Garifuna drums which had a snare. He used to love to go to Gales Point Manatee, because there he would make drums with older folks. They had a saying tin Gales Point, that in order to master the drum, you had to learn how to build a drum. Evan was guided by Mr. Irving Veno and Papa John, both master drummers. His first drum was built by Mr. Veno,who taught Evan a secret, how to build a drum out of a woodpecker’s tree using a burning cigar. And Evan is so happy to see that when he goes online to Gales Point Manatee, there is now even a drumming school there and the young people still speak about Mr. Irving Veno in Gales point.

Way back in the 60’s, the trouble he got into was that going to visit his grandmother in Belize City, he would travel from Gales Point on Mr. Henry Tillit’s boat, and he would bring the drum because he enjoyed drumming and singing along with the passengers on the boat. But sometimes he would leave the drum on the boat, because if you would walk carrying a drum in Belize City back then, people would make fun of you and call you a “Carib”, which was a bad word due to prejudice. But today when he looks back, Evan is more than glad that he stuck to the African roots of his drumming. And he is so happy to see the Garifuno people like Andy Palacio and Pen Cayetano spreading Afro-Belizean music abroad. African rhythm is not new to Evan’s ears, because as a boy, on the way home from market with his grandmother, he would visit what was known as Igbotown, an area of Belize City now known as George Street. Here they would listen to the rhythms of Mr. Wilfred Peters , the King of Boom an’ Shine, who was married to his grandmother’s cousin.

The first time Evan went on the trap set was in the early 70s. It happened one night that he ended up in a place called Home Park, which housed the families of British soldiers. He heard the sound of a band coming in on the ocean breeze, and he followed the sound. He ended up at the legendary Glenn Bood’s practice spot. They were working on a Beatles song called “Hey Jude” and “Daniel” by Elton John..They were putting the songs into Rock Steady, Jamaican style.

Mr. Bood asked Evan his name, and when he told him, Mr. Bood said, “I know your father.”

The full band was there, but one thing that was missing was a trap set player. The bass player, a Rasta Man by the name of Beva, from Saint Kitts, Virgin Islands, asked Evan, “Are you a musician?”

Evan said, “Yes, I play guitar.”

Beva asked if he played the trap set too. Evan said, “No.”

“Wouldn’t you like to try?” said Mr. Bood. “We need a drummer. Even just to keep the time. If Ringo can keep the time, you can keep the time.”

Evan started to realize he might like this new way of drumming, the trap set. With all the cymbols around, and two sticks in his hand, and the bass peddle at his feet, he felt like he was sitting in the driver’s seat.

They played “Hey Jude” and “Daniel.” It was very awkward at first, but by the end of the practice, Beva said, “Son, seriously, you should work on it and when you are ready, come and play with us..” Evan was happy and scared at the same time, because this was a number one band. But at that time he was playing snare drum for St. John’s School band. And even though he didn’t play with Glenn Bood right away, that’s what started him on the trap set.

But in those days it was not so easy to come by your own set of drums. Instruments were scarce. Musicians used to put together buckets and cans to create a band. But Evan was lucky to have trap sets available to use. Because he hung out every day that he could at Birds Isle, Belize, where big concerts were held. And great musicians, with their instruments came to Birds Isle, mostly from Jamaica. He learned from watching, and playing with, the best, the inventors of reggae. On Bird’s Isle, Evan sat behind the trap sets of many famous bands like Tomorrow’s Children, and the Inner Circle Band (in the days of Jacob (Killer) Miller, the band’s original lead singer). He jammed with Byron Lee and the Dragoneers, Sonny Bradshaw and the Magnificent Seven and he played the trap set for Nelson Diamond when Diamond played his solo piano, and for Mr. Fuller and the Sweet Inspirations. And that’s how he got his trap set practice.

Ten years later, Evan did play the trap set with Glenn Bood’s new band, now called “Glenn Bood and the Mediators” (only for a week or two) but ended up playing guitar for them for about a year. He played congos in many groups, like the Road Runners. And after all these years, he is proud to say that he is playing trap set again, this time with the great Thomas Mapfumo, which is an honor for him., especially when the legendary “Lion of Zimbabwe” tells him, “You still have Africa in you.”

Musical Farmer

I don't prejudice when it comes to music.

I no prejudice when it comes to a song.

There are some of them who brag

that all the music come from Africa.

So why they exclude one from another?

All you do is contradict yourself.

I am a musical farmer

I am a musical farmer.

You want to know why? -- I plant my

music in the brain , in the brain

cultivate it in the heart,

in the mind, body and soul.


I am fighting so hard to make

this one work.

I am fighting so hard to make

this one work.

Can you put jealousy aside

and make this one work?

All I am saying

is come together.

Don't be like crab inna barrel--

as one reach the top, you pull

him back down.

They find fault because they

dislike my progress.

So remember not everyone

will reach that top.

I don't prejudice when it comes to music.

I no prejudice when it comes to a song.

Why exclude one from another?

All you do is contradict yourself.

I am a musical farmer

I am a musical farmer.

Evan Trapp Belize

Copyright 2003