GARIFUNA Singer EFRAIN MARTINEZ To Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Founding of his Garifuna Musical Group, YUREMEI BAND With a Concert in BOSTON on SATURDAY November 22nd 2014

 

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Boston, Massachusetts — TONIGHT, (SATURDAY, November 22nd 2014) in Boston. Honduran Garifuna Singer, Composer, Arranger and Music Producer (and leading Garifuna music figure in Boston) Efrain Martinez will be hosting a very special Concert in Boston as his Efrain Martinez & Yurumei Band Celebrates their 20th Anniversary!

Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band 20th Anniversary Celebration

Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band 20th Anniversary Celebration

It should be quite an evening in BOSTON!!! The event is both a Concert and a Dance, so bring your Fancy Outfits and Dancing Shoes! Are you ready?

It will be at the Russell Memorial Auditorium, 70 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02124. Artistic and Cultural Celebration from 9pm to 11pm, Dance Festival from 11pm to 2am. See you there!!!

Jose Efrain Martinez is a Garifuna songwriter, singer, composer and music producer from the Garifuna village of Plaplaya, he then moved to the city of La Ceiba, Honduras, Central America in search of a better life.   He migrated to the United States in 1983 and eventually made his way to Boston, Massachusetts.  Yurumei Band, his band, was founded in Boston in 1994 along with family members and friends.  He is presently the lead vocalist.

Efrain Martinez has recorded three music albums so far, and one of his songs ,“ A mi Ceiba Te Invito” (“I Invite You to my La Ceiba” in the Spanish Language) was chosen to represent the Carnival of La Ceiba, Honduras in May of 2008; the biggest festival in his native country of Honduras.

His three albums are:

  • El Tributo Caribeno (1997)
  • Un Canto a Mi Pueblo (2004)
  • Embajadores del Carnaval  (2009)

Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band.  "Un Canto A Mi Pueblo".  Album Cover.  Released in 2006.

Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band. “Un Canto A Mi Pueblo”. Album Cover. Released in 2006.

Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band.  "Embajadores Del Carnaval".  Released in 2009.

Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band. “Embajadores Del Carnaval”. Released in 2009.

His style of music is called Puntarengue which is a combination of two popular musical genres; Punta from Honduras and Merengue from the Dominican Republic. These two styles together is what he calls PUNTARENGUE. It is a unique rhythm based in a very tight percussion enhanced by an African drum; the tambor Garifuna.

Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band.  Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

This fusion of Punta and Merengue has had interesting results.  Below, here is LIVE video of Efrain Martinez and Yurumei Band performing their “Punta Mix” at Wonderland Ballroom in Massachusetts.in 2013.  The emphasis in this video is decidedly GARIFUNA. as you well see a small demonstration of the Wanaraua (“Masked Dance” in the Garifuna Language) as well as the call-and-response chants you typically see at Garifuna concerts.  Also note Mr. Efrain Martinez high-energy and exuberant performance style.

Efrain Martinez is also an educator. He has worked within the Boston Public Schools for the over 20 years, serving in different capacities, from classroom teacher to teacher’s supervisor.He currently is an elementary school teacher in the Boston Public School System.

Mr. Efrain Martinez has also invited to perform at festivals throughout the United States of America and the world for that matter.  In 2011. both he and his cousin, International World Music Star, Garifuna Singer Songwriter Aurelio Martinez were invited to be a part of the 2011 World Summit for people of African Descent in Honduras.

Efrain Martinez and his Cousin Aurelio Martinez at the 2011 World Summit for People of African Descent in Honduras.  Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Efrain Martinez and his Cousin Aurelio Martinez at the 2011 World Summit for People of African Descent in Honduras. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

In fact, Mr. Efrain Martinez’s song, “Afro-Descendientes” was the theme for the 2011 World Summit for People of African Descent summit, which took place in Honduras that year.    This song is also an example of the Puntarengue style that Mr. Efrain Martinez pioneered.

Mr. Efrain Martinez is also one of the leaders of Boston’s cultural Garifuna, Central American and Latin American scene.   He is very much involved in cultural affairs there and was the main sponsor of the Boston Screening of the independent film, Garifuna In Peril at the 2013 Boston International Film Festival.    Below is video of Mr. Efrain Martinez and his group, The World Jankunu Dance Group of Boston performing the Wanaragua (“Masked Dance” in the Garifuna Language) before the screening of Garifuna In Peril.

Mr. Efrain Martinez & Yuremein Band have performed at Boston’s Puerto Rican Day Festival and is often interviewed on local Boston public affairs and cultural television programs.  Mr. Efrian Martinez is very much a multi-faceded, involved Garifuna Man in Boston.   I hadn’t ever heard of him prior to 2011, but my first encounter with Mr. Efrain Martinez was memorable indeed.

 

Efrain Martinez at The 2011 Honduran and Central American Festival in the Bronx. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Efrain Martinez at The 2011 Honduran and Central American Festival in the Bronx. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

I first encountered Mr. Efrain Martinez when he performed at the 2011 Honduran and Central American Festival at Crotona Park in the Bronx, which takes place immediately after the Honduran and Central American Parade in the Bronx.

For the most part, that year’s festival was a DISASTER.  Something happened with the vendor who was to provide sound as well as a stage.   For some reason, the morning of, there was NO sound nor a stage and both had to be rented from another vendor at the last minute. Well the acts had to make do with what was available and most made the best of a bad situation.

When Mr. Efrain Martinez began his set, he was alone and only had a CD with instrumental tracks on it.  Well, what followed was a textbook example of how to ROCK a crowd that other acts should have learned from that afternoon.  If it was me, I would have taken notes.

Mr. Efrain Martinez shouted, sang, got on his knees, pointed to the crowd, engaged the audience, danced alone AND with audience members.  I took plenty of photos of his performance, but was unable to find any video of it.     In a matter of minutes, I went from “Who is that?” to “Whoa” and finally, WOW!!!

Click here to learn more about Mr. Efrain Martinez & Yurumei Band or to buy CDs from this dynamic Boston musical group.

 

ABOUT The Garifuna People


The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent.  From this fusion of race and ethnicities in St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.  They are noted for being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men, 1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.   1

In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.

Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797; the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE. Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted through the PAYPAL website, so potential donations are SAFE and SECURE. 


Honduran Garifuna Singer Songwriter, Composer, Arranger, and Music Producer Efrain Martinez . Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Honduran Garifuna Singer Songwriter, Composer, Arranger, and Music Producer Efrain Martinez . Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Notes:

  1. Nancie L. Gonzalez, “Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pg. 21

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