Singer and guitarist Aurelio Martinez from Honduras brings his highly global musical style to SFJazz Center at Miner Auditorium on Thursday, August 6th.
The Central American musician obtained international recognition beginning at age 14 thanks to his creative world music, which channels Afro-Caribbean sounds along with roots from his native Garifuna heritage. Aurelio was born in the coastal town of Plaplaya in Honduras, and he absorbed the guitar-based ‘paranda’ music of his Garifuna community, descendants of shipwrecked African slaves on the island of St. Vincent who were deported to the Central American coast in the late eighteenth century.
When performing, Aurelio grooves with a big band, which includes Tony Peñalva on guitar, vocalist Alex Ciego also on bass, Dony Medina playing tambor primera, vocalist Andy Ordoñez on shaker, as well as vocalist and percussionist Carlos Moralez.
We spoke with Aurelio about his musical development, details of his culturally relevant genres, and the themes behind his latest material.
How were you first introduced to music?
My mother introduced me to music. It’s a talent that I have had since birth. It is something that I always liked. But then, I come from a musical family: my grandfather had a community band, my uncles were musicians, my father played guitar and my mother is a Garifuna songwriter.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I love to listen to reggae. My favorite artists in this genre are Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, Peter Tosh, Lucky Dube and others. On the other hand, there’s the Cuban trova (Silvio Rodriguez, Paolo Milanes, in its literary form). I also like country music, the blues.
Can you explain the sound of music from the genre punta rock?
It is a rhythm that is derived from the Garifuna culture, a genre called Culiou, combined with electric drums and piano and sometimes wind instruments, electric guitar, congas and Garifuna drum. Its pace is much faster than the Paranda.
Andy Palacio from Belize is one of your mentors. What would you say is his most underrated attribute or what was the biggest thing you learned from working with him?
The love of culture preservation; in fact I share the same mission. The legacy he left us is years of service to our Garifuna community.
Where is the motivation or what is the message behind your latest or newest music?
The motivation of my last album is to continue bringing Garifuna music around the world and further promote the pride of our youth; the preservation of Garifuna culture for our children. The Landini disk in particular was inspired by my mother and made with musical influences from back in the community where I was born, Plaplaya.
Tickets for his SFJAZZ show can be purchased for $25 for floor and starting at $35 for reserved seats.