The Pedrito Martinez Group has its roots planted firmly in the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition and in the bata rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria. Members include percussionist, Jhair Sala, from Lima, Peru; electric bassist, Alvaro Benavides, from Caracas, Venezuela; and keyboard player/vocalist, Araicne Trujillo, from Havana, Cuba.
Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba, Sept 12, 1973. Pedrito began his musical career at the age of 11, performing as vocalist and percussionist playing with such Cuban legends as Tata Guines and Munequitos de Matanzas. He was brought to Canada in 1998, by Jane Bunnett, to tour with her group, Spirits of Havana. His decision to remain in North America to pursue his career, proved to be an auspicious one when, two years later, the annual Thelonious Monk Institute Competition showcased Afro-Latin Hand Drumming for the first time ever. Pedro entered and won first place.
Since settling in New York City in 2,000, Pedrito has performed, recorded, and/or toured with Paquito D’Rivera; Brian Lynch; Steve Turre; Me’shell Ndege’Ocello; Eddie Palmieri; Bill Summers and Los Hombres Calientes; Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill; Stefon Harris; Bebo Valdés; Cassandra Wilson; Joe Lovano, and Sting, (for his rainforest benefit, with Elton John and Bruce Springsteen). Pedro was also featured in 2,000, in the documentary film on Cuban music, Calle 54.
Mr. Martínez was also a member of the highly successful, Afro-Cuban/Afro-Beat band,Yerba Buena with which he recorded two albums and toured the world opening for bands including the Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles.
Pedrito has also lent his talents to over one hundred records, including albums by Paquito d’Rivera, Issac Delgado, Eliane Elias, Stefon Harris, Steve Turre, Eddie Palmieri, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Conrad Herwig, Edie Brickell and many others. These include six records that have been Grammy® nominated and one, a collaboration between Eddie Palmieri and Brian Lynch, called “Simpatico”, that was awarded a Grammy®.
The Pedrito Martinez Group closes out Day 1 of the Festival, performing at 9pm Thursday, July 3rd.