One of the most extraordinary and passionate Central American artists of his generation, Aurelio Martinez is a major tradition-bearer of the threatened Garifuna culture that fuses African and Caribbean-Indian roots. Hailing from a small community in Honduras, he is recognised for his preservation and modernization of this musical tradition with his distinctive, powerfully evocative vocals and his talent as a composer, guitarist and percussionist.
Thanks to a mentorship with Youssou N’Dour, as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, Martinez found himself in Senegal, learning from the singer, rethinking his arrangements and exploring the musical links between the Garifuna sound and West Africa. Youssou N’Dour and Orchestra Baobab guest on the new album, which is produced by Ivan Duran of Stonetree Records (Andy Palacio, Umalali and the man behind the international rise of Central American Garifuna music).
Laru Beya is a lush journey marked with thoughtful reflections on the Garifuna past, the sometimes difficult present, and the promising glimmers of the future for artists like Martinez.
“Aurelio stood out. He is talented and he brings something I wasn’t aware of. I knew nothing about the Garifuna people before I met him, but after one song I had the feeling. This really touched me.” Youssou N’Dour quoted in The Sunday Times
“It was an evening of exhilarating celebration of a star in the making.” Review
of Union Chapel show, London, December 2009, Evening Standard
‘Brilliantly produced and joyously sung; it swings with a rare soulfulness and conveys a sense of the Garifuna community.’ The Arts Desk