INDIANAPOLIS — Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis announces the signing of Pedro Pablo "Pedrito" Martinez, Cuban-born world-class percussionist, conga player and singer, as a Yamaha Drumset Artist. Martinez plays a Maple Custom Absolute drum kit. The New Yorker magazine wrote that he possesses "the charisma of a mainstream star" and "if anyone can move Afro-Cuban music into greater visibility, it's Martinez."
The fit with Yamaha, which stresses education and outreach along with top-quality gear, is perfect. "Pedrito is blessed with tremendous talent, creativity and an innate ability to bring percussion music to new heights," said John Wittmann, Director, Artist Relations, Yamaha Corporation of America. "We look forward to supporting him as he continues to inspire audiences with his passionate performances and to helping him advance his career even further."
Martinez started his career as a vocalist and percussionist at the age of 11, playing with Cuban legends Tata Guines and Munequitos de Matanzas. In 1998, Jane Burnett, a Canadian soprano saxophonist, flutist and bandleader known for Afro-Cuban jazz melodies, brought to him Canada to tour with her group, Spirits of Havana. Martinez remained in North America to pursue his career and two years later, caught his big break when he entered and won first place at the annual Thelonious Monk Institute Competition in the Afro-Latin Hand Drumming category.
Since settling in New York City in 2000, Martinez has performed, recorded, and/or toured with Sting, Elton John, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D'Rivera, Steve Turre, Eddie Palmieri, Arturo "Chico" O'Farrill, Stefon Harris, Bebo Valdés, Cassandra Wilson and Joe Lovano. He was also featured in the documentary film on Cuban music, Calle 54.
Martinez also played with the renowned Afro-Cuban/Afro-Beat band Yerba Buena, recording two albums and touring the world with them, opening for the Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles. He has also lent his talents to over 100 recordings, including six records that have been nominated for a Grammy Award. One of the discs he collaborated on, "Simpatico" with Eddie Palmieri and Brian Lynch, which won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2006.
Currently, Martinez plays a weekly engagement at New York City's Guantanamera Restaurant. Martinez will share the stage with Steve Gadd later this year at the 2012 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Austin.