The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 10, 2013

Percussionist, band to perform in free concert


LEWISBURG — Percussionist Pedrito Martinez and his Afro-Cuban band will perform in concert Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Theatre, 413 Market St., in Lewisburg.

The performance, presented by the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell, is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

The Pedrito Martinez Group — Jhair Sala from Lima, Peru; electric bassist Alvaro Benavides from Caracas, Venezuela; and keyboard player/vocalist Araicne Trujillo from Havana, Cuba— has emerged as the tightest Afro-Cuban band in New York. The ensemble has its roots planted firmly in the rumba tradition, and revels in the bata rhythms and vocal chants of Yoruban and Santerian music.

“Pedrito and the band are virtuosi of the first order. But even more striking is how they work together as a unit.They are one of the greatest groups playing today. I’ve learned so much from hearing and from playing with them,” says jazz guitarist and composer John Scofield.

Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1973, Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez began his musical career at the age of 11, performing as vocalist and percussionist with such Cuban legends as Tata Guines and Munequitos de Matanzas.

He was brought to Canada in 1998 to tour with Jane Bunnett’s Spirits of Havana. Since settling in New York City, Pedrito has collaborated with Sting, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D’Rivera, Meshell Ndegeocello, Eddie Palmieri, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He is featured on more than 100 albums, including Eddie Palmieri and Brian Lynch’s Grammy Award-winning “Simpatico.”

The New York Times says, “Since arriving in the United States at the end of the 1990s, the Cuban percussionist [Pedrito] Martinez has been all over the place, putting rumba and guaguancó into the weave of all kinds of groups … when his drums, singing and writing are the focus – as is the case in his new band, which plays complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk – he’s an incomparable performer.”

Martínez was a founding member of the Afro-Beat ensemble, Yerba Buena, which recorded two successful albums and toured internationally with the Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles.

This tour is funded through Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Jazz Touring Network program with support from the National Endowment of the Arts.

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to www.bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or www.facebook.com/WeisCenter