Roberto Martinez was born in the farming village of Chacon, New Mexico, a mountain village that has historically been a stronghold of Hispanic (sometimes called "Spanish Colonial") culture. When Roberto was six, his uncle constructed a guitar for him using a gallon gasoline container, a board, and some thin wire, initiating his life-long musical pursuits.
During his career, first in the Air Force and then as a civilian working for the Air Force, he with his wife Ramona, herself from a family of guitarists and fiddlers, raised five children, musicians all. In particular, his son Lorenzo showed an interest in the old melodies of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. A master violinist, Lorenzo recorded two seminal albums, the first when he was 15, of this rapidly fading repertoire. Lorenzo also joined his father in the mariachi ensemble Los Reyes de Albuquerque.
In the 1960s, Roberto began composing corridos on contemporary topics, including a regional hit memorializing Daniel Fernandez, a local hero and casualty during the Vietnam War, and "El Corrido de los Astronautas" about the NASA Challenger tragedy. Roberto founded two record labels dedicated to the distribution and perpetuation of Hispanic music, and in his retirement he continues to take his group to senior citizen centers and social service agencies throughout northern New Mexico. In recent years while Lorenzo works as a police officer, he has also become known as a composer of songs and instrumentals.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency
Sample: "La Marcha de Los Novios"
Sample: "Mi Linda Colorada"