The Cleveland Museum of Art celebrates summer with a new series that brings music and film to Ohio City. CMA Ohio City Stages, presented by Charter One, features international music artists on a neighborhood stage outside the Transformer Station on West 29th Street. Each concert is followed by a film on the lawn. These eclectic block parties take place Wednesday nights throughout July and are FREE to all. Here, we highlight some of the global talent in this two-part blog post.
This Wednesday, July 17, Honduran artist Aurelio Martinez takes the stage. Martinez has brought the rhythms of his Garífuna people to the world. The Garífuna are descendents of escaped African slaves and Caribbean natives. In 1635 ships carrying enslaved West Africans to the New World wrecked in the Caribbean off the island of St. Vincent. The survivors of the shipwreck found refuge on St. Vincent and eventually blended through marriage with the inhabitants of the island, South American immigrants called Carib Indians. These Afro-Caribbean people became known as the Garífuna and created a culture that is a hybrid of Caribbean fishing and farming traditions mixed with South American and African music, dance and spirituality.
Aurelio Martinez hails from a small Garífuna community in Honduras called Plaplaya where his family has been musicians for generations. Encouraged by his singer-songwriter mother and troubadour father, Martinez made his own guitars from cans and fishing line as a young boy and was playing drums at social gatherings by the age of six. Martinez is known for his preservation and modernization of Garífuna music. This composer, singer, guitarist, and percussionist “has a fine soulful voice and a highly individual style,” writes The Guardian, and is Garífuna music’s biggest star.
Join us each Wednesday night this month for music, dance and entertainment and more outside the Transformer Station in Ohio City.