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Introducing Canada’s Own Jorge Martinez with special guest Oscar Lopez
May 23, 2012 @ 8:30 pm$42
He is likely the best guitarist you have never heard. That is about to change, for Jorge Martinez is poised to take Canada by storm.
Born and raised in Argentina, this 36 year old virtuoso moved to Montreal in 1998 and is now a much-loved figure on the Quebec scene.
The seeds of his fascinating musical journey were sown at a young age in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina. “You grow up differently there,” recalls Jorge. “Children go to sleep at the same time as their fathers, so if there was a party we’d be up til 3 a.m.. At age six, I remember seeing a guitar in front of me and a friend of my father’s started to teach me, late in the night.”
Jorge’s life-long love affair with the guitar then blossomed at age 14. “I started with a classical guitar. An uncle taught me some flamenco rhythms then I immediately switched to playing other kinds of music, like rock and jazz and funk and Latin. I had a neighbour listening to people like Frank Zappa. As I was starting the guitar, he’d bring me to his place everyday to listen to all kinds of music.” Martinez remembers his pledge of devotion to music came at 15 and a half. “I said to my parents and myself that is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Because I was in high school, I couldn’t play as much guitar as I wanted. On Fridays I’d go home, go to sleep at 11 and wake up at 2 am. During the night is when your muscles relax and things come out easily. So from Friday to Sunday I’d play guitar from 2 to 8. a.m., sleep til 12 noon, then play til I went to sleep again.”
On finishing high school, Martinez increased his guitar regimen to 14 hours a day. Another early milestone came at age 18, with his first public performance. “My rock group was part of a Battle of the Bands competition, in front of 10,000 people. The stage instantly felt like a natural environment for me. I feel alive onstage, and I’m always happy to be there.” Jorge’s genuine love of live performance and his natural charisma are just two more key weapons in this artist’s powerful arsenal.
Rather than merely reinterpreting an established repertoire, Jorge Martinez is creating his own. The bulk of the material he now performs and is recording is original. “I prefer that because I feel I have something to communicate to people. Music is a tool to express my emotions.” Martinez writes the music and arrangements for the small ensemble of players he performs with, while still allowing them creative freedom. “That just helps our show reach a higher level,” he notes.
After graduation, Martinez followed his heart to Montreal, home to the love of his life. “I was playing as a flamenco guitarist on one circuit, but people in the rock industry would call me for gigs and studio work too. I had two different audiences”, he says. His skills as a producer and arranger were put to use on projects for a range of Latin, world music and urban artists, but Jorge is now totally committed to pursuing his own musical path. Along his journey, he has won the respect of his musical peers. Top Canadian guitarists Pavlo, Rik Emmett and Oscar Lopez were thrilled to invite Jorge onstage at one of their gigs in Quebec, while world music stars Strunz and Farah were curious about his unique guitar technique when they shared a stage. Jorge’s ability to captivate a large crowd was vividly demonstrated when he opened for world music star Cesaria Evora at Place Des Arts in Montreal and for flamenco superstar Paco de Lucia at Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg.
View Jorge Martinez perform at the following link:
Oscar Lopez’s Latin guitar groove has made him a stand-out on the world music scene.
Never afraid to venture into different genres, Lopez easily incorporates jazz, blues, and even pop sensibilities into his music. But one thing remains constant: letting the passion and fire within his soul loose through his fingertips and onto the guitar strings. His deep commitment to his art has earned Lopez two Juno awards, critics praise, and thousands of devoted fans who have filled theaters across the continent to experience his amazing performances first hand.
Lopez captures the sound and feel of his live performances with an intimate, acoustic set on his latest album, MY DESTINY (Mi Destino). “The music on this album illustrates the power of simplicity. I’ve been striving to achieve this musical goal for a long time and I am very proud of the results. Every song on this album represents the core of my heart, soul and spirit. MY DESTINY, as are Lopez’s live performances, is an invitation to a very personal interaction between him and the audience. “My music is an extension of my soul and life experiences,” Lopez explains. “My albums are the product of this internal and external collaboration. I revel in the thrill of watching an album take form.”
The Latin feel in his music is one of the most important elements for Lopez. Born in Santiago, Chile, he moved to Canada in 1979 and now calls Calgary home. “My roots are here but all that I am I owe to my mother country; she has made me who I am today”.
The cultural crossover suits Lopez’s eclectic tastes and styles. “There has been so much music that has touched my spirit and soul. When I came to Canada I journeyed through many different styles of music and believe that this was an important process for me in my musical life. When I returned to playing the nylon string guitar I blended all these elements and flavours and established my own signature.”
This global fusion has made Lopez a leader among world-class guitarists. Performing to sold-out audiences across North America and mesmerizing music lovers from across the globe, he was named Instrumentalist of the Year by the Prairie Music Awards. In addition to this and his Juno wins, he has been honoured with 3 Juno nominations, awarded the SOCAN Hagood Hardy Jazz/Instrumental Music Award, and is a two-time recipient of the Hispanic Excellence Award for the achievements as the Hottest Latin Guitarist. ARMANDO’S FIRE, HEAT, and SEDUCTION blazed to the Top 20 of Billboard’s “New Age” music chart, receiving widespread critical acclaim.
Oscar Lopez paused to reflect on his astonishing career. He has dazzled the ears and touched the hearts of many with his stunning technique. His soulful energy and fiery intensity has been captured on FLASHBACK, a collection of tunes from many of his top selling albums.
View Oscar Lopez perform at the following link: