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    Stonetree News | Stonetree's 10th, December 2005
   Stonetree Records Celebrates 10 Years   
As reported by the Belize Times, December 13, 2005

"Without music, life would be a mistake"- Friedrich Nietzsche
From behind the scenes, perched above equalizers and electronic gadgets during tons of music sessions, Ivan Duran has achieved more in the music industry than many do in their lifetimes.

It was ten years ago that risk-taker, Duran, decided to step up to the plate and start his own music producing company, Stonetree Records.

After finishing his six year study at the Escuela Naciónal de Música in Havana, Cuba, Duran came home in 95 and decided to become a producer. He said that he switched gears, from that of a musician to producer, because he wanted to feel more in control and was captivated by the feel of recording something that would last forever.

More deeply, he confessed, he realized that he was more comfortable working from behind the scenes, where he did not have to expose his "stage fright".

"It has been challenging," admitted Duran, who has the official title of Label Director and Producer.

"There was a space for local music to be produced and marketed. There was a need for quality recording," Duran said.

Despite the small market, Stonetree seized the opportunity.

Their first taste of success was placing the final touches of his first two albums, that of Brother David Obi's "Raw" and Andy Palacio's "Keimoun". Keimoun was dubbed as "The most ambitious Punta album to date" by The Rough Guides.

In ten years, Stonetree has produced twenty six albums and has worked with a wide-range of musicians. From Mr. Peters and his Bruckdown, to Andy Palacio, Aziatic, Paul Nabor and Aurelio Martinez' Punta Rock, to Florencio Mes' Maya music.

Stonetree has also fostered a well-respected reputation regionally and internationally. Their music gets rave reviews all over the world. Stonetree is professionalism personified; both on the technical front and on the creativity front. Duran's attention to precise mixes and crystalline sound along with his genuine respect for the idiosyncrasies and uniqueness of Belizean indigenous music make for world class recordings.

Duran noted that with Stonetree's success, there have rising challenges. The much quoted George Price hypothesis: ‘progress brings problems' is a living reality for Stonetree.

Duran pointed out that while technology has helped them produce quality music, it has also brought about problems through piracy.

Duran recalled one of Andy Palacio's biggest successes, when he sold 30,000 cassettes of his new album. These days and with new technology which allows the easy piracy of music, musicians and Andy Palacio can barely sell couple thousands.

"It's more of an education issue," remarked Duran. He said people need to be more appreciative and aware of the effort musicians put to bring out albums.

Despite the challenges, Stonetree will continue to be persistent. Over the next years, the record label company will be more focused on how to effectively export and expose Belizean music and talent not only in Belize, but also worldwide.

Duran said that the poet, Leroy "The Grandmaster" Young, is preparing for a North America tour next year. Aurelio Martinez and Paul Nabor will also be taking their music to different stages, with the help of Stonetree Records.

He also said that Stonetree will soon release "Umalali", a project with Garifuna music that is seven years in the making.

In commemoration of their tenth anniversary, Stonetree has released "Frombakabush", which is a compilation of ten memorable songs that define the first decade of their recordings.

Duran also said that Belizeans have been pivotal in keeping Stonetree alive. "Without the existing fans in Belize, nothing would be possible," he commented.

Stonetree Records is made up of Ivan Duran, four staff members, a Peace Corps volunteer and the hearts of many artists and fans in Belize.

See the artical published at Belize Times:
www.belizetimes.bz/news/story/5042.shtml
 
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