The following is a biographical profile on one of Belize’s traditional musician, Florencio Mes (1938 – ):
- Florencio Mes Born on February 23, 1938 in Toledo
- During most of his childhood he grew up under care of his elder brother in San Pedro Columbia, where he currently resides.
- During his youth, young Florencio enjoyed the village fiestas. He recalls seeing Mr. Fernando Ash, fingers moving a traditional harp as a festive crowd danced to its reverberating sounds.
- This was his newly-found ambition. Mr. Ash’s words were: “Florencio, come and learn, but be serious. It is for your own good.” And so at the age of sixteen, he began taking lessons on the weekends.
- It took six years of apprenticeship for Florencio to acquire the skills of the revered harp musician.
- He would chop beans plots to fund his training sessions. He remarked: “I took kerosene for the lamp, about half pound flour, coffee and sugar. I also took a small bottle of rum for my teacher every time.”
- He first learnt the bass, then the guitar, thereafter the violin and finally the harp itself.
- Florencio founded his first group with Martin Coc on violin, Valentino Teul on bass, the late Francisco Sam on guitar and Florencio himself on harp.
- Florencio is now the undisputed musician for the village fiestas.
- His unique aura of constructing, playing and dancing the harp has made Florencio locally and internationally recognized. He has become an icon and master of Maya harp music, captivating a large audience at the local, national, and international level.
- He traveled to Mexico for a show at the Centro Communal-Districto Federal in 1992.
- He has played at several CARIFESTA events in the Caribbean. He has also played in Port of Spain, Miami, Rome and Malaysia.
- He has recorded an album “Maya K’ekchi’ Strings” produced by Stone Tree Records.
- He was recently featured as one of “The Three Kings of Belize” in a documentary by Katia Paradis (2007)
- Mr. Florencio Mes is a Belizean Benefactor of traditional Maya music.
How to cite: ISCR/NICH. “Florencio Mes (1938- ).” Belize’s Heroes, Patriots & Benefactors Exhibit. Retrieved from: [Insert BHA Website URL]
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