“If anyone can move Afro-Cuban music into greater visibility, it’s [Pedrito] Martinez
Last August at the American Folk Festival
in Bangor, Maine, where people were treated as usual to a wide variety of music from around the world, the only group I went to see twice was the remarkable quartet led by the Cuban conga master Pedrito Martinez. This week, The New Yorker
, published in a somewhat more sophisticated city than Bangor, caught up with the Pedrito phenomenon, calling him “a mainstream star… to many in the Cuban-American musical community.” [abstract
Various Pedrito videos can be found on YouTube; three of them
, filmed in the small NYC restaurant Guantanamera where the group plays regularly in the middle of the week, are exceptional. (I am a white guy from the suburbs, one of the least Afro or
Cuban people in the whole country, but I can watch Que Palo
over and over and over.) Thanks to the New Yorker
article I also found this video
of Pedrito, as a sideman with Yosvany Terry, showing his ability to solo.
The group’s other percussionist, Jhair Sala from Peru, who plays cowbell, congas
, and timbales
, probably would be the best drummer in just about every other band around.