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Augusta presents musician at The Old Brick

Aurelio Martinez

ELKINS — The Augusta Heritage Center, with support from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, will present a concert with treasured Honduran musician Aurelio Martinez at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 at The Old Brick Playhouse in downtown Elkins. The event is open to the public.

General admission tickets can be purchased at the Augusta Heritage Center website www.augustaheritagecenter.org.

A singer-songwriter, guitarist and percussionist, Martinez is one of Central America’s most gifted performers. Born in Honduras, Martinez is known for his powerful and evocative voice. He is a major tradition-bearer of the Garifuna culture and music. The Garifuna are people of Amerindian and West African descents who live along the coasts of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Martinez grew up in the small Caribbean village Plaplaya, surrounded by a family of talented musicians. While attending secondary school at the provincial capital of La Ceiba, Martinez dove into diverse and innovative musical projects that took him outside the traditional sphere of performance. He played professionally with popular Latin ensembles and refined his musical skills.

In the 1980s and 1990s, he toured extensively with his band Lita Ariran, one of the first Garifuna traditional music and dance groups to appear on the international scene. Martinez has released three solo albums backed by some of Belize and Honduras’ best studio musicians on Garifuna percussion, saxophone, electric and bass guitars.

Martinez was elected to the Honduran National Congress in 2006 and was the first Garifuna congressman from his region in the country’s history.

“We’re not going to let this culture die,” Martinez explained. “I know I must continue my ancestors’ legacy and find new ways to express it. Few people know about it; but I adore it, and it’s something I must share with the world”

This engagement of Aurelio Martinez is made possible through the Folk and Traditional Arts Touring Network program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in collaboration with the National Council for the Traditional Arts with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.