Aurelio Martinez’s Landini
Garifuna Soul for the World
What a year for Garifuna music
After the September celebration excitement settled down, we finally found the time to sit back and really listen to Aurelio Martinez’s new album, Landini.
And what a rewarding experience that turned out to be.
Those few of you still unfamiliar with Aurelio, and the richly textured music of Belize’s (and Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua’s) Garifuna will find moments of joyous inspiration amid a backdrop of rhythm and soul. Not the gospel inspired, North American soul, but that impulse springing from a deep, universal mix of feelings and aspiration.
Those who are already fans will enjoy a warm return to music from a passionate craftsman at the peak of his skills, while those unfamiliar with Aurelio will be rewarded with the joy of discovery.
There’s sensitivity and confidence here as Aurelio’s music matures. That always soulful voice is developing into a distinctive, woody solidity that settles and warms the listener as it floats above an easy foundation of guitar, shakers and rhythmic percussion. It’s a heady, captivating mix that long-time collaborator Ivan Duran’s clean, restrained production allows to stand confidently on its own feet.
After spreading his wings on 2011’s Laru Beya, Aurelio sounds like he’s returning home on Landini, reprising songs he learned from his mother Maria, who is listed as cowriter this time around.
Offerings like Nando take off in a new direction with the guitar work – bear with me here – at times taking on an almost spaghetti western-on-the-beach flavour, while Lirun Weyu is earnest and plaintive, with the calm delivery of a master (elder Paranda master Paul Nabor comes to mind). The closing Chichambara brings the listener full circle with unmistakable Garifuna harmonies and a subtle joy.
This is an evocative, deeply personal yet readily accessible offering from a roots artist firmly grounded in his culture while exploring new creative vistas.
Aurelio describes it best:
“I consider this album to be the sound of my Garifuna people. 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.”
And the world’s that much richer for having Aurelio share that experience.