Fine blended cul­tures

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

Roberto Martinez Sr. re­mem­bers his first gui­tar. It was a 10-gal­lon metal gas can with a tin string made by his un­cle in 1935. “You couldn’t tune it,” Martinez said. “I was 6 years old, and I would just pound away at it.” Over the next 30 years, Martinez mas­tered a vast cat­a­log of tra­di­tional North­ern New Mex­ico songs, taught by ear and passed down from fam­ily to fam­ily. Th­ese bal­lads and cor­ri­dos de­pict the rough-hewn life of the Up­per Río Grande as it once was. In th­ese songs, men are killed on horse­back hunt­ing buf­falo, His­panos and Na­tive Amer­i­cans bat­tle one an­other on the fron­tier, and the af­fec­tions of young women are sought through waltzes, polkas, re­don­dos, and chotiz at vil­lage dances.

Martinez founded Los Reyes de Al­bu­querque with trum­peter Ray Flores in 1962, and to­gether they re­vived the tra­di­tional sounds of North­ern New Mex­ico. They cut a string of well-re­ceived al­bums, such as 1989’s Sa­bor Nuevo Mex­i­cano, and per­formed cor­ri­dos, in­di­tas (bal­lads that meld Span­ish ro­mance bal­lads with the drum songs and chants of Pue­blo In­di­ans), and polkas in ev­ery con­ceiv­able venue, from small­town dances to the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion’s Amer­i­can Folk­life Fes­ti­val on the Mall in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. In 2003, Martinez’s sons, Lorenzo and Roberto Jr., were named Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts Na­tional Her­itage Fel­low­ship win­ners.

This Satur­day, April 17, the 80-year-old Martinez takes the stage with his sons Lorenzo and Roberto Jr. as La Fa­milia Martinez at the Len­sic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter. The trio is per­form­ing as part of Nues­tra Música, Cel­e­bración de los Vieji­tos, an an­nual April tra­di­tion that show­cases El Norte’s best-known Latino folk mu­si­cians and is co-spon­sored by the Mu­seum of Span­ish Colo­nial Art.

In honor of Martinez’s legacy of re­viv­ing tra­di­tional vi­o­lin and gui­tar mu­sic, the Len­sic screens Los Reyes de Al­bu­querque y La Fa­milia Martinez, a short but vis­ually ar­rest­ing doc­u­men­tary about Roberto Sr. and his highly mu­si­cal fam­ily. Cre­ated by jour­nal­ist Paul In­gles and pho­tog­ra­pher Genevieve Rus­sell, the doc­u­men­tary traces the role that New Mex­i­can folk mu­sic played in sus­tain­ing Martinez, his wife, and

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.