WMSE’s recent world music charts have firmly been featuring the beautifully bewitching album by New York resident Aurelio [Martinez], called Laru Beya. The album is not only an impressive collection of Afro-pop, but a history lesson and preservation, rooted strongly in tradition and beguiled with Latin nuances and the unique Garifuna-rock sound of Central America. Recorded in a small fishing village in Honduras, Laru Beya features the voices of locals, adding depth to Auerlio’s existing guitar/percussion-based songs. Percussion, as in most Garifuna music, uses tenor (‘primero’) and bass (‘segunda’) bass drums to motion the vocal melodies along. Garifuna standout, Andy Palacio (who passed away in 2008), left a huge impression on Aurelio, and with this, Aurelio set about composing his own traditional-based music sang in the Arawakan language of South America that combines languages of the Carib, French and Spanish.
The Honduras Weekly gives light to Laru Beya, Garifuna and Palacio: “Laru Beya was recorded with producer Ivan Duran in February of 2008 in the quietude of a beachfront house off the coast of a small fishing village following the death of Aurielo’s longtime friend and mentor, Garifuna icon and Belize congressman Andy Palacio. And if you hear elements of Youssou N’Dour in this collection as well, it’s because the Senegalese Afro-pop great selected Aurelio as his protege in 2008, taking the musician under his wing by bringing him to Senegal to help Martinez reshape the songs he recorded in that little beach house. And by collaborating with N’Dour, as well as several members of the famed Orchestra Baobob, Aurelio adds a new dimension to Garifuna music that brings its unique harmonies closer to their African roots than ever before. Laru Beya is an enchanting look at the evolution of an age-old artery of Caribbean music whose time for rediscovery is long overdue.”
Watch the above video for a audio-visual take on Aurelio’s “Wamada” and listen to the title track from Laru Beya, below.