Featuring band members from Peru, Mexico and the United States, Jarana built its energetic and danceable music by blending South American music styles, Mexican folk music and Latin dance styles. The Lincoln-based quintet uses South American, African and Mediterranean beats such as Flamenco, Rumba and Salsa, accompanied with authentic, traditional instruments to introduce audiences to different kinds of musical styles.
“We want people to be open minded when they come to the concert,” Martinez said. “We want them to open their ears to something unique, something different. Not only is the sound quality different, what you see is different. The instruments are unique, too.”
Jarana will open the 2023-24 performance season at The Tassel in Holdrege with a 3 p.m. performance Sunday.
Flamenco guitar stylist, composer and teacher, Martinez grew up in Iquitos, Peru, surrounded by the ocean and the Amazon. He first picked up the guitar as a young teen at the encouragement of his mother who quickly discovered his natural talent for playing by ear. As a teenager, he followed the natural path of a teenage boy by pushing boundaries.
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After moving to Nebraska in 2002 to enroll at Union College in Lincoln to study English as a Second Language, Martinez started to take his music seriously.
He honed his skills through the mastery of classical guitar training while preparing for, and winning, national guitar competitions. He has performed in South America, Canada and across the U.S.
Five solo instrumental recordings later, Martinez is a sought-after instructor and a familiar presence on stages in the region. As a guitar professor at Union College he offers private and group lessons for all ages and abilities.
Martinez formed Jarana in 2009 to amplify the joy and energy of his music. He is featured on the Nebraska Arts Council touring roster and was a Community Supported Artist for the Lincoln Arts Council in 2013. Martinez composed and performed traditional music in his first collaboration with Angels Theatre Company’s production of “Las Hermanas Padilla” in March 2014.