The Alluring Garifuna Sounds of Aurelio

Aurelio - Lándini
Aurelio – Lándini

Lándini (Real World Records, 2014)

Guitarist and singer-songwriter Aurelio Martinez is the most significant artist in the current Garifuna music scene. Even though some of the first international Garifuna music releases features artists from Belize, Honduras has the largest Garifuna community in Central America. Aurelio grew up in a traditional Garifuna village on the Caribbean coast of Honduras called Plaplaya.

Lándini means landing in Garifuna, the place where small boats disembark by the bank of the river when they come back from the sea. On this new album, Aurelio departs from cross-cultural explorations and returns to his musical roots, with an entirely Garifuna album. It’s a touching tribute to the Garifuna people. “I consider this album to be the sound of my Garifuna people,” says Aurelio. “On the previous album [Laru Beya] we experimented and collaborated with other artists to reconnect what was lost between Africa and America. This album is purely Garifuna, and the entire spirit of the music reflects the Garifuna experience.”

During his youth, Aurelio attended communal festivities to listen to parranda music, a lively guitar-driven Garifuna musical genre that praises and also mocks at times community life. Aurelio learned traditional music and also songs from his mother. On Lándini he includes a mix of traditional songs as well as songs written by his mother and self-penned material.

My mother is the sole inspiration for this album,” explains Aurelio. “My mother sees herself reflected in me, to a large degree, the only one of the family who could fulfill her dream of singing professionally. She reminds me of songs, and will give me advice on music and the songs. She’s the best example I have in my life of what a human being should be, my main consultant and confidante.”

Aurelio is a community activist and also the first black elected politician in Honduras. His support of Garifuna music and traditions has gotten him in trouble with people in his own community who have converted to intolerant evangelical Christian churches that dislike the nighttime celebrations, dancing and discourage the use of the Garifuna language.

In addition to Aurelio’s warm vocals, Landini also features the excellent lead and rhythm guitar work of Guayo Cedeño. The rest of the band on the album includes Rolando Marcelino Sosa on Garifuna drums and percussion; Al Ovando on bass and rhythm guitar; producer Iván Durán on guitar and bass; Sam Harris on guitar; Joshua Arana on Garifuna drums and the vocals of Ernestine Carballo, Lugua Centeno, Desiree Diego, Shedon Petillo, and Chela Torres.

Lándini is a captivating album with irresistible rhythms, outstanding musicianship and fascinating depictions of Garifuna life and history.

Buy Lándini in North America

Buy Landini in Europe

Read more about Aurelio in this 2011 World Music Central. interview:

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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