Santa Monica Lookout
B e s t   l o c a l   s o u r c e   f o r   n e w s   a n d   i n f o r m a t i o n

Leading Cuban Percussionist to Play Santa Monica Venue
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)828-7525 -

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jorge Casuso

April 19, 2016 -- In Cuba, Afro-Cuban drumming is not only a key feature the island's influential dance music, it's an intricate part of its religious rituals.

On Saturday, April 23, Pedrito Martinez, a leading practitioner of the rumba, as well as the batá rhythms used in the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria, will bring his infectious drumming to the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at Santa Monica College.

The Grammy-nominated Pedrito Martinez Group (PMG) will give one performance starting at 7:30 p.m.

"Equally at home in popular music," organizers said, "his perfectly intoned tenor voice, seamlessly combines popular and folkloric influences, infectious energy, humor, charisma and dance moves that make him as formidable a front man as he is a percussionist."

Martinez is considered the world's premier rumbero and has played, sang and danced with dozens of groups, event organizers said. He drumming can be heard on more than 100 recordings.

The Havana native also has been featured in several films, including "Calle 54" released in 2000, which showcases major Latin muusic stars, and "Chico and Rita," an animated romantic films released in 2010.

A babalawo, or Yoruba priest, Martinez is also considered a master of the batá, a double-headed drum shaped like an hourglass used in Santeria religious ceremonies.

"He plays the monumentally complex 'Oru seco' exquisitely on each drum, or on all three at once," organizers said, referring to the drumming without vocals that includes the 23 standard rhythms for each of the Afro-Cuban gods in the Yoruba religion.

Martinez moved to the U.S. in the late 1990s after performing in Canada. He would quickly impress practitioners and connoisseurs of Afro-Cuban music and become a major attraction on the local circuit.

The New Jersey resident became a staple at Guantanamera in Manhattan, a small diner club that is a popular hangout for music stars from different genres. One musician who quickly became a fan is Derek Trucks, a guitarist for the Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton bands.

“Over the last six to eight years, I’ve taken every band I’ve been with to see him, because his musicality is just staggering,” Trucks told the New York Times in 2013. “After Allmans’ rehearsals, three or four of us will head there, and it’s funny how many other musicians you’ll see.

"You know that everybody is going to go through New York, so you say ‘You’ve got to see this guy, you’ve got to go to Guantanamera and see Pedrito whipping it.'"

Martinez and his group have appeared at jazz music's most prestigious venues, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Apollo Theater, the Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Montreux Jazz Fest.

PMG’s second album, “Habana Dreams”, recorded largely, in Cuba last October, will be released in June 10, 2016.

Jazz and Blues at The Broad Stage made possible by a gift from Richard and Lisa Kendall. Tickets priced from $65 to $105 are available online at and by calling 310-434-3200.

Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2016 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures