RootsWorld: Home Page LinkRootsWorld: Home Page Link

Petrona Martínez

Chaco World Music (
Review by Michael Stone

Listen "Bobby"
[Son Palenque-Rumba Pacifica)

Colombia's Caribbean coast zone has historically been a refuge for African captives who fled slavery to create palenque communities of maroon resistance. Octogenarian singer Petrona Martínez is a renowned bearer of the polyrhythmic, call-and-response Afro-Colombian bullerengue tradition, a singular female folkdance and song genre. Remarkably, it was only at age fifty that Martínez gained recognition outside her home region, after her first recording materialized in 1989. Such massively popular Colombian artists as Bomba Estéreo, Aterciopelados, and Carlos Vives cite Martínez as a foundational influence.

Listen "Ay Mi Gallina" (Afrobeat-Chalupa)
with Angelique Kidjo

Of the 18 tracks, three are spoken philosophical reflections by Martínez (in Spanish) on her life and music, and ten are her originals in the bullerengue, chalupa, fandango, and son palenque genres. Guests include Peru's Susana Baca ("El Niño Roncón," a bullerengue-chalupiao, video below), Cuba's Aymée Nuviola ("El Piano de Dolores y Estefanía," a rumba), Benin's Angélique Kidjo ("Ay Mi Gallina," an Afrobeat-chalupa), Mexico's Mariachi Flor de Toloache ("Niño Carabalí," a brassy bullerengue-mariachi, with Garifuna percussion from Honduras), Brazil's Xênia França ("Mejor Que Me Mate Dios," a bullerengue-sentao)," and New York's Brianna Thomas ("La Cantadora," a bullerengue-jazz improvisation).

Listen "(Ni)ño Carabali" [Bullerengue-Mariachi]
with Flor de Toloache

With Ancestras, Martínez pays vivid homage to her own culturally vital matriarchal lineage; to the women of the transatlantic African Diaspora more broadly; and to her artistic compatriots, whom she affectionately refers to as "petronistas." For her this sisterhood of commanding singers mix, match, and interweave their diverse traditions as the future ancestors of an egalitarian multicultural world to come, one given voice and indomitable spirit through the music they conjure together in the quotidian struggle of the here and now.

Photo: Felipe Holguin

This album is our pick for Music of the Month for December, 2021
Find out more.

Sign up for Music of the Month with a 20.00 monthly donation (includes postage in US):
Sign up for Music of the Month with a 30.00 monthly donation (includes postage worldwide):
Buy the CD for a 22.00 donation (includes US post)
Buy the CD for a 30.00 donation (outside US)

You can also buy previous Music of the Month titles in our shop (and save a little on postage for more than one CD).

Search RootsWorld



return to rootsworld

© 2021 RootsWorld. No reproduction of any part of this page or its associated files is permitted without express written permission.


Petrona Martinez - Ancestras


Music of the Month
Ancestras is our selection for
Music of the Month.
Subscribe and support RootsWorld.




Like What You Read Here?

Support RootsWorld
Please Donate

RootsWorld depends on your support.
Contribute in any amount
and get our weekly e-newsletter.

RootsWorld depends on your support.
Contribute in any amount
and get our weekly e-newsletter.