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Elfeyo Panti Sr., 64 years old, head of the group
Elfeyo Panti lives in the village of San Jose Succotz on the banks of the Mopan River in Belize

Elfeyo Panti Sr. in the photo above is 64 years old and been playing the marimba since he was 14 years. For 50 years he has travelled to the surrounding village festivals and weddings with the Alma Belicena Marimba group. He spent his life as ticket and guard at the fabulous Xunantunich Maya pyramid ruins and now retired works at the ferry crossing to the ruins, as a TOUR GUIDE to cruise ship tourists coming on buses.

Felipe Moralez at 91 years old in the photo to the right, is the oldest professional musician in the country of Belize and has been playing the Marimba for 77 years. He built this instrument out of jungle hardwoods 50 years ago and the group Alma Belicena of the village of San Jose Succotz along the banks of the Mopan River below the towering majestic Mayan temple pyramid has been traveling to village Festivals, dances and weddings ever since. The longest known musical group in the nation of Belize. Visiting USA musician Rick Zahniser who played at the 2004 MAYA MOUNTAIN FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL in Hillview said the man had to be A BELIZEAN NATIONAL TREASURE. Alas! The nation is run by Creoles down in the coastal town of Belize City a hundred miles away. And it has only been a few years since a paved road penetrated past Felipe's village and the coastal crowd do not recognize the contributions to the nation of many rural musicians. But we have to agree with Rick the visiting musician retired in Corozal, five hours drive to the North on the Mexican frontier. The man is a NATIONAL TREASURE! Felipe complained to me, that his fellow musicians in the band will not let him carry the instrument anymore when loading in trucks for playing gigs. But other than that, he plays at the melody high end and at the bass low end and does the chords when necessary as well in the middle of this instrument.

Silvia Pinzon and Rick Zahniser accompany on right
2004 MAYA MOUNTAINS FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL appearance. In shadow to the right are Silvia and Rick .

Felipe Moralez at 91 years and still playing.
Felipe built this Marimba of the Alma Belicena band 50 years ago.

The Alma Belicena Marimba Band

Alma Belizena band 30 years ago or more.
This is a photo believed to be before 1975

Notice the sound boxes below the Marimba.

Silvia Pinzon the sponsor of this 2004 Festival
Silvia is a Miami Dade College administrator from Florida with a vacation home in Hillview, Belize

The members playing in the Alma Belicena Marimba band here at the 2004 MAYA MOUNTAINS FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL in Hillview, of Western Belize District are; Elfeyo Panti at 64 years old. Felipe Moralez at 91 years old, Elfego Panti the son of Elfeyo at 39 years old and Eleodoro Martinez at 73 years old.

CLICK HERE for more photos of the Western Belize MAYA MOUNTAINS FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL 2004.

CLICK HERE for photos and information of Western Belize

CLICK HERE to see the ADVENTURE TOUR OPERATORS and prices and trips of Western Belize

This website was prepared by Ray Auxillou of Hillview, who is Trustee of the Belize Development Trust NGO, an internet based world wide volunteer service. This web page was a volunteer project to make this group of old musicians known in their own country. To let them take their place in the history of this new young nation.