Amanda Martinez

Published: October 20th 2009
in Culture » Music

"Despues de tanto esperarte // Llegaste con la ilusion (After so much waiting // You have arrived with new hope)," are the opening lines of Mi Primavera, a lullaby on Amanda Martinez’s latest album, “Amor.” Although the song is not the album’s title track, its soft lyrics about finding love in those close at hand -- in Martinez’s case, a new child -- is the spirit of the love-themed album.


Written while pregnant with her now 12-month-old son, Leo, “Amor” is a stepping stone towards a bright future as a recording artist for Martinez.


The Canadian-born Mexican-South African-Jewish songstress only began a professional career in music eight years ago when she left her position as associate director of TD Bank. From there, she became a host and producer at JAZZ FM91 where she launched Café Latino, a Latin jazz show, while putting together a tight-knit band to create her first album, “Sola.”


Collaborating with producer George Seara, Martinez managed to sell over 6,000 copies of her first album while earning a few award nods, including a nomination for Latin Jazz Artist of the Year at Canada’s National Jazz Awards.


George Seara, and for the most part the same band, reappear on “Amor” to create a strong follow-up album that Exclaim!’s Kerry Doole calls “a well-constructed work.” Martinez claims that she and her band mates – including her husband, bassist and musical director Drew Birston – have formed a musical family that is integral to the creative construction of the album.


“I really have to give credit to all my musicians because we worked as a group to come up with all of the arrangements,” Martinez tells Shalom Life. “They’re like my musical family.”


But it is Martinez's direct family that deserves most of the credit. According to Martinez, her son Leo was not only her muse but he also helped balance and centre the musician aiding in a tighter, more personal work.


“Apart from my husband and my music he’s the love of my life. He’s such a laidback little guy that he’s made everything almost easier to do.”


Currently, the jazz musician, who looks up to Mercedes Sosa and Lila Downs among other Latin artists, will be kick-starting a south-Ontario tour at Koerner Hall on Oct. 23. If you manage to snag a ticket, look forward to a special one-night flamenco dance performance to accompany her onstage.


Otherwise, you can also catch her on her Valentine's Tour that pays tribute to the album's themes of love in early 2010.








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