New York City
One of the most extraordinary and passionate Garifuna artists of his generation, Aurelio Martínez is a soulful, powerfully evocative singer and an exceptional guitarist and composer. Acclaimed for both his preservation and modernization of the paranda ballad, Martínez is one of the few parranderos of his generation writing lyrics dealing with social problems facing his community.
The Garifuna are descendants of a group of West Africans who escaped enslavement after their slave ship ran aground in 1675. They found refuge with the Carib Indians on the island of St. Vincent and developed a distinct music, language and culture. The Garifuna have since populated Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua, yet have maintained a unique cultural legacy that shares sacred ancestor spirit-possession traditions culturally akin to practices found in Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Brazil.
“Aurelio Martínez… has revolutionized paranda by harmonically enhancing the music while retaining a very authentic roots sound.” – The Los Angeles Times