The Pedrito Martinez Group has its roots planted firmly in the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition and in the bata rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria. Ben Ratliff summed it up aptly for the New York Times (June 15, 2010) calling it, “complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk.”
With its formation in the current lineup in 2008, the group has developed into an extraordinarily tight and creative unit. With a home base gig in Midtown Manhattan the group has built a fan base that includes Steve Gadd, Ravi Coltrane, Taj Mahal, Eric Clapton, John Scofield, Roger Waters, Derek Trucks, Herlin Riley, and Will Lee. Members include percussionist, Jhair Sala, from Lima, Peru; electric bassist, Alvaro Benavides, from Caracas, Venezuela; and keyboard player/vocalist, Araicne Trujillo, from Havana, Cuba.
Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba, Sept 12, 1973. Pedrito began his musical career at the age of 11, performing as vocalist and percussionist playing with such Cuban legends as Tata Guines, Munequitos de Matanzas. He was brought to Canada in 1998, by Jane Bunnett, to tour with her group, Spirits of Havana. His decision to remain in North America to pursue his career, proved to be an auspicious one when, two years later, the annual Thelonious Monk Institute Competition showcased Afro-Latin Hand Drumming for the first time ever. Pedro entered and won first place.