Singer-songwriter, guitarist and percussionist, Aurelio Martinez , is one of Central America’s most gifted performers. Born in Honduras, he is known for his powerful and evocative voice. He is also a major tradition-bearer of the Garifuna culture and music and he is considered nowadays as the Cultural Ambassador of the Garifuna nation. Songlines named his 2014 album, Landini, as one of the Greatest World Music Albums of the Last 5 Years.
The Garinagu, commonly known as the Garifuna, are people of Amerindian and West African descent who live along the coasts of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In the 17th century, the Arawak and Carib peoples living in Belize were joined by the survivors of a shipwreck of a slave ship from the Bight of Biafra. The resulting hybrid people, known as the Garifuna, were eventually deported en masse by British colonizers to the island of Roatán and the Caribbean coast of Central America.. There are now well over half a million Garifuna people, connected by their heritage and culture, but spread across these Central American countries and the United States.
From an early age Aurelio was involved with traditional and ceremonial Garifuna music and culture, but always explored wider influences and collaborations. In 1997 he began a long friendship with the hugely respected and influential Belizean musician Andy Palacio. He released his first solo album (Garifuna Soul) in 2004 and was named “Newcomer of the Year” by AfroPop Worldwide. In 2008, he was selected by Senegalese legend Youssou N’Dour within the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative – exploring and exchanging musical ideas and sharing a stage in venues across the world, including Senegal. His 2011 album, Laru Beya, linked back to his African roots but was also a tribute to his friend Andy Palacio who had died suddenly aged 48. His third album, Landini, was a return to his musical roots and was named in multiple 2014 year-end critics lists – including Songlines 50 Greatest World Music Albums of the Last 5 Years.
As well as being a musician, from 2006-2010 Aurelio took on the role as a politician in the Honduran National Congress, becoming the first Garifuna Congressman of his region in the country’s history.
This TalkingGig is one of just 4 gigs that Aurelio will be doing in the UK to coincide with the launch of his new album, Darandi, a collection of his favourite songs from his career recorded to capture the sound of his incendiary live performances. As ever, it will give you the chance to hear more about the Garifuna people, their music and culture, and Aurelio’s own story and work, both musical and wider … and, of course, the chance to hear a full set of his extraordinary and powerful music.
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Review: Aurelio @ Richmix, London (1st February 2017)
Calling out a beaming welcome to the ambassador of Honduras, Aurelio gently filled the room with his unique equatorial style, set against swelling stringed harmonies. Joined not only by their country roots, Aurelio also shares common prestige with his political friend for his standing within the Garifuna community, and for…
Your Ticket to… Garifuna Music
It can be considered a miracle if and how little more than 500 thousand souls have been able to safeguard and evolve such a rich and diverse tradition like Garifuna. In fact, despite enduring nearly a 400-year struggle, Garinagu people have protected their heritage and kept its uniqueness alive. Garifuna…
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