A passionate preserver of the threatened Latin Paranda genre, self-taught musician Aurelio Martinez's multi-cultural sound impressively managed to transcend his humble Honduras roots. Born and raised in the tiny coastal hamlet of Plapaya, Aurelio grew up surrounded by music, learning to sing from his vocally gifted mother and his troubadour father, building his own guitar from a fishing rod as a child, and performing in Garifuna ceremonies as a teenager. After playing professionally with various Latin ensembles while at school, he formed his own Garifuna group, Lita Ariran, and became a permanent fixture on the La Cieba music scene. After meeting Stonetree Records producer Ivan Duran, he contributed to a Paranda compilation and in 2004, released his debut album, Garifuna Soul, to world-wide critical acclaim. A year later, he turned his back on the music industry to become the first black representative to the Honduran National Congress. However, inspired by the death of his close friend Andy Palacio, who helped to kickstart his career, he returned in 2011 with a new album entitled Laru Beya. ~ Jon O'Brien
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