Pedrito Martinez returns to the Spoleto stage after seven years. His 2017 Wells Fargo Jazz Series performance in the College of Charleston Cistern Yard had audiences on their feet. His return this June will bring an exciting performance blending of jazz, rumba, and afro-beats for an intricate and vivacious sound.  

As an artist, Pedrito’s music is based on his heritage and upbringing in Cuba and pulls significant inspiration from African culture. Cuban rumba is a genre heavily based in dance, lyricism, and percussion. Its sound was formed through African and Spanish influences, representing Cuba’s complex history.   

As a first-call rumbero, Martinez sets the tone for rumba’s percussion practices. Martinez is a consummate master of the batá drum, a double-sided hourglass shaped instrument used by the Yoruba people during ceremonies and religious practices. The drums and their spiritual significance devote a significant amount to Martinez’s heritage and religion. 

In March 2024, New York Latin Culture Magazine raved about the artist in an article previewing his upcoming performances in New York City, stating “we kid you not, Pedrito changed our lives just with his drumming. We couldn’t be writing these words if we hadn’t listened to Pedrito Martinez, rumba master.” 

The playlist below features songs like “Cuba Isla Bella” and “Africa” which show Martinez’s appreciation for his roots. While his rendition of “Las Caras Lindas,” originally performed by Puerto Rican artist Ismael Rivera, serves as an ode to both artists before him and Afro-Latinos throughout Latin America. He has also been featured in well-known productions such as HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 

The world’s first-call rumbero—playing, singing, and dancing with dozens of Cuban rumba groups- his collaborative and diverse catalog serves as just one example of why this performance is a must see. 

2024 Wells Fargo Jazz Series performer Pedrito Martinez will feature artists Sebastian Natal, Ahmed Alom, Manuel Marquez, Jose “Xito” Lovell, Barbaro Giraldo Ramos Aldazabal, Esther Yamile Ramos Aldazabal in a combined feature of Afro-Cuban beats and a dance performance. 

This performance will take place at the College of Charleston’s Cistern Yard on Friday, June 7 at 9pm. Get tickets here.