Pedrito Martinez is a Grammy-nominated Cuban rumba and timba drummer and singer. He is the world’s 1st-call rumbero, and a true force of nature. In Yoruba tradition, he is Changó, the master of the drum, inventor of the sacred bata.
Pedrito Martinez News
Pedrito Martinez backs Cimafunk & La Tribu, featuring Chucho Valdés; at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village; Thursday-Sunday, September 28 – October 1, 2023, at 8 and 10:30pm (6 & 10pm doors). From $52. 🇨🇺 🇨🇺 🇨🇺
Pedrito Martinez is the World’s 1st-Call Rumbero
We don’t know how it is in rumba, but in Puerto Rican bomba (similar to Rumba Colombia), there is one master drummer who everyone else follows. In rumba, Pedrito is the one.
The current evolution of Cuban music is timba, a fusion of rumba, rock, jazz, R&B and funk; so unless he is playing straight ahead rumba, Pedrito plays timba. He’s a great singer and dancer too.
When rock music legends are in New York, they seek out Pedrito. He just did an album with Eric Clapton. When the Rolling Stones are in town, they look for Pedrito. Wherever he plays becomes a musical Mecca.
Pedrito falls into the jazz frame too, because the jazz cats know that rumba (or Haitian kompas) is one of the deepest roots of blues, jazz and American popular music.
Most Latin drummers are priests because the drum is a sacred healing instrument that is the center of traditional community life. Sit right next to the drum for a set and see what happens. Pedrito is Cuban Yoruba babalawo (priest).
We kid you not, Pedrito changed our lives just with his drumming. We couldn’t be writing these words if we hadn’t listened to Pedrito Martinez, rumba master.
Where to See Pedrito in New York
- Blue Note New York
- Cafe Wha?
- Carnegie Hall
- Chelsea Music Hall
- Drom (residency)
- Harlem Stage
- House of Yes
- Jazz at Lincoln Center
- Roulette Intermedium
- Sony Hall
- Symphony Space
- The Town Hall
Pedrito Martinez is The Rumba
When you want a Cuban party, a celebration with the ancestors and drumming, singing, and dancing, you call Pedrito. He works with artists like Eric Clapton and Camila Cabello. Celebrities often appear at his shows and it’s been that way for years. He turned a house gig at a Cuban restaurant in Manhattan into a regular stop for Pop music royalty from around the world.
Pedrito was born in Havana, Cuba September 12, 1973. He began singing and drumming as a child, and moved to New York City in 1998. Since then, Pedrito has played with a pantheon of Latin, Jazz, and Pop stars. He was a co-founder of Grammy-nominated Latin fusion band Yerba Buena, and has played in several movies including the seminal Latin jazz film “Calle 54.”
A Cuban party can be just for fun, or a more serious spiritual moment. Pedrito can take you to either place. His music comes from the Rumba tradition, but is more accurately described as Timba, contemporary Cuban dance music. Whatever you call it, Pedrito Martinez is a real force of nature and something you should experience at least once in your New York life.
Pedrito’s Rumba is the sound of the Rumba heartland in Matanzas, Cuba. It’s not the Rumba of the Palladium Ballroom (1946-1966) or ballroom dancing. Cuban Rumba is one of the roots of most Latin music including Salsa, but it is distinct.
When you listen to Pedrito, you will notice the difference right away. Most of us haven’t heard anything like this. He may stir something deep inside you, perhaps something you didn’t even know you had. After all, the entire human race is from Africa and regardless of the language we speak, everyone understands the drum. [Editor Keith: It’s a long story, but Pedrito’s drumming changed my life.]
You can’t sit still when Pedrito plays. He’s a very good singer and dancer too.
Pedrito Martinez Albums
Pedrito often plays as a sideman, but these are his own albums.
“Riddles” tells Pedrito’s story figuring out life as an artist in New York and Cuba. African Diaspora drumming is often sacred. In this album, Pedrito is more open about his spiritual life in the Yoruba traditions.
The great mysteries are often taught in riddles. You have to find the answer yourself. Afro-Caribbean traditions are also often presented in code. If you know, then you know. How cool. If you don’t, it’s just a pretty song. That’s cool too.
Pedrito’s music brings together Yoruba Africa, Cuban Rumba, New Orleans Jazz and Cuban Timba (the next phase of Cuban dance music after the 1950s Cuban dance music that became Salsa). Acertijos plays with the forces of nature, and that is something everyone can understand.
The Pedrito Martinez Group released their second album Habana Dreams (Motema Music) in the Spring of 2016.
The band’s first self-titled album was widely recognized and nominated for a “Best Latin Jazz Album” Grammy.
For more information, visit www.pedritomartinezmusic.com