'08  |  '07  |  '05  |  '04  |  '03  |  '02 
    Ivan Duran featured in IDB America Magazine | October 2002
Stonetree's Ivan Duran featured in IDB America Magazine special report
The New Central America
An emerging generation of leaders is finding innovative ways to fight for social justice and create economic opportunities

IDBAmérica, the magazine of the Inter-American Development Bank, is recognizing the accomplishments of this generation by profiling 21 outstanding Central Americans in the areas of politics, civil society, science, the arts, journalism, health, education, and business. The biographical sketches included in this special edition show that these young people truly are the protagonists of development of a new Central America.

The 21 people selected are notable for forging unique personal destinies, while at the same time shaping the development of the new Central America. From Zaragoza in El Salvador, Waspam in Nicaragua, Chimaltenango in Guatemala, the Krausirpe community in Honduras, Benque Viejo del Carmen in Belize, to the Central American capitals, their voices and actions offer reasons for hope.

Belize – Ivan Duran
An impresario of traditional music
By Claudia Neira

Two things were always clear to him: that music would be his future and that he wanted to live in Belize. But to combine these two ambitions, Ivan Duran had to achieve one more thing, which was to create his own record label.

Duran was born in Benque Viejo del Carmen, a Belizean village not far from the border with Guatemala. At age 14, he began to play the guitar and study music, first in Mexico, later in Spain and finally in Cuba, where he studied classical and jazz guitar at the Escuela Nacional de Música. Later he returned to Belize, and in 1993 he formed his first fusion group, Free Access, with musicians from several countries. In 1994 he recorded his first album in a studio with more than 30 musicians of different genres.

A year later, while recording an album for Andy Palacio, a well-known Belizean artist who was working to compile information on traditional Belizean songs, Duran realized that there was no record company dedicated to traditional music in the country. Stonetree Records was born out of that realization. Today, this first and only Belizean record label is helping to build an identity for the three major ethnic groups in the country—the Garifuna, the Creole and the Maya.

“We started from zero. There was nothing in Belize. If you wanted to record, you had to go outside the country,” says Duran, who was 23 years old when he started the company. To set up the studio, he had to sell practically all his instruments. “All I had left was my guitar,” he says. That guitar and the desire to promote Belize internationally have been key. “I knew very clearly that I wanted to live in Belize, and that my country would give me all the space I needed to grow. My spirit of adventure told me I had to do it. It seemed to be an extremely interesting project because no one beyond these borders knew anything about this music. It is fascinating music that has the potential to bring Belize to a world-class level,” he adds. Stonetree Records has produced 20 albums to date, all of traditional music. An impressive website, Stonetree Records ( markets the albums and promotes the artists.

Duran is a perfectionist who will spend as long as he deems necessary to produce a recording that is up to his standards. The album Paranda took three years to produce, for example. “We take the time we need to put everything together and with the best possible quality,” explains Duran. This album, together with Andy Palacio’s Keimoun (beat on), appears in the book 100 Essential Recordings of the Caribbean and Latin America published by Rough Guide Books of England.

Duran needs more than a good ear to sound out what the next recording will be. He travels the country’s villages searching for something new in the music of the Maya, Garifuna and Creole. Each has different characteristics and rhythms.

Duran works practically by tooth and claw. The record market has shrunk, half the country's population is less than 18 years old, the government doesn’t have any programs to promote Belizean artists, and record piracy is common. Were it not for tourists, it would be extremely difficult to sell records.

But Duran is not discouraged. Right now he is involved in three projects. One on the Garifuna music of Honduras, Belize and Guatemala; another on the Creole music of Belize; and the third will be the first album by a group of Garifuna women singers. In any event, the sounds that Duran compiles, records and produces have the same objective: to find a lasting audience for Belize’s unique music. “This has been a labor of love,” says Duran.

Also featured from Belize is Carolyn Gentle, To view the entire report visit:
view cart
©2017 Stonetree Records. All rights reserved.
site design | tim omalley