And so we reach the mid-way point, both for this series and for the World Cup itself. Today sees the end of the group stages and the final confirmation of which 16 teams are left to duke it out for the next two weeks – Honduras are unlikely to be one of them, and it’s hard to know exactly what to say about them other than that. So little attention is paid to them that one ITV correspondant referred to them as a South American country – without meaning to be too denegrating, they’re probably the most nondescript country involved in the whole tournament, and that’s no small accomplishment in a competition boasting the presence of both Slovenia AND Slovakia. All this despite an astonishing bit of governmental wrangling that got seemingly everybody in the world commenting as recently as last year, too. If it had happened in Mexico, Cuba, or even Costa Rica, rest assured you’d have heard a lot more about it; the international media just didn’t seem to care when it happened in a country nobody really knew anything about. Ditto the tragic murder of Edwin Palacios, brother of three of the current Honduran national team.
In keeping with all of that, Honduran music hasn’t produced any stars, certainly not ones who’ve found fame outside the country’s borders, so it’s hard to know where to start. If we’re just talking quality, though, then I can highly recommend one Aurelio Martinez, a man with, in addition to his musical carrer, a few impressive political achievements to his name. His 2004 album Garifuna Soul has, rather like the King Sunny Ade album discussed a few days ago, become the flagship album for the genre it shares a name with, achieving some considerable acclaim, if not fame, in America and western Europe. Truth be told, it’s probably not the most accurate representation of garifuna, but it’s a great record that deserves to be heard all the same.
The next act up here is Delirium – not to be confused with several other acts with similar names, these guys are a metal band who have been consistently been among the nation’s most popular successful bands for the majority of their two-decade tenure. Known as Delirium Tremens from 1990 until 1999, their socially conscious thrash brings to mind Metallica and even Queensryche in spirit, even if they often sound dangerously close to some of the other, slightly less savoury metal trends of the ’80s.
Perhaps the most popular genre in Honduras right now, though, is reggaeton. That’s not really too surprising – it’s popular right through central America – but Honduras probably has the most vibrant scene of all the surrounding nations. This is DJ Sy, one of the very biggest names in both reggaeton and Honduran music as a whole, with “Gasolina”. Oh no, wait, it’s actually “Helicoptero”. Still, even if it is derivative, it’s a lot of fun, and it’s got all the best things about reggaeton in tow – nonsensical lyrics, retarded beats, catchy micro-hooks, and women wearing very little.