Aurelio Martínez

Aurelio Martínez

The protégé

Published in 2009

Singer, guitarist, composer and percussionist, Aurelio Martínez, 38, is one of Central America’s most gifted performers.

The Honduras-born musician, recognized for his powerfully evocative voice, is a major tradition-bearer of the threatened Garifuna culture that fuses African and Caribbean-Indian roots.

Carrying on his family’s musical tradition, Martínez played the drums in public at age six, and in his late teens formed the Garifuna ensemble, Lita Ariran. In 2004, he was named “Newcomer of the Year” by AfroPop Worldwide for his acclaimed first solo album, Garifuna Soul. Both a cultural and political spokesperson, he is the first Afro-descendent elected to the Honduran National Congress from the marginalized Atlántida region and is president of the Commission of Ethnic Peoples.

“There is so much I would like to learn from Youssou N’Dour and from Senegal’s musical culture,” he says. “It is my dream to reconnect Garifuna music with our ancestral homeland.”