Amanda Martinez
Gig Seeker Pro

Amanda Martinez


Band Latin World


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Disc Reviews: Amanda Martinez- Sola"

AMANDA MARTINEZ Sola ((independent)) Rating: NNN

If there's some unspoken rule about radio hosts playing their own music, local composer and singer Amanda Martinez should feel free to break it. The popular voice of JAZZ.FM91's Café Latino can proudly drop the needle on her own sultry record, Sola, which scorches with hot Cuban rhythms and bossa-tinged jazzy numbers like Guajira Sola and Diciembre. Kevin Laliberte does some nice flamenco guitar work on the traditional composition La Llorona, where Martinez's voice writhes with the affecting pain of a mourning mother. Even anglo unilinguals will dig the sensual words mostly sung in Spanish (and Portuguese), because anything this soulfully delivered supersedes language barriers. Martinez launches Sola at the Drake Hotel tonight (Thursday, June 22).

Jason Keller
NOW | JUNE 22 - 28, 2006 | VOL. 25 NO. 43
- Now Magazine

"Cantanos Amanda"

Amanda Martinez | Sola CD Release

June 22, 2006 • The Drake • Toronto


Cantanos Amanda
Report by Joyce Corbett | Photo by Roger Hunbert
An obviously happy Amanda Martinez faces the band and finger-snaps the tempo for “Guajira Sola”. The bass, guitar and guiro pull us into the rhythm, a hypnotic chi-chi-chao. Violin and trumpet join the building excitement and Amanda’s voice comes in as sure and steady as the advancing rhythm. We are immersed in the thrill of the song. Exciting, sensuous and rhythmically rich, it feels like a celebration song. It is a song I can see becoming her 'signature song'. It’s a great opener, or closer, and very Amanda.
Amanda Martinez tells the audience that she has been performing around Toronto for about five years now and that people have often asked her about a CD. Last year, she decided the time was right — and now, here she is with her own recording, Sola. The woman who, as a Jazz FM radio host, has introduced so many performers at their CD release parties is now taking the spotlight at her own.

Beyond Amanda Martinez’ distinctive voice and her song-writing talent, the ease with which she performed Thursday evening and the pleasure it obviously gave her, showed that she was right — the time had come. She radiated confidence, her singing and her performance were flawless.

Claudia Garcia de la Huerta from CBC’s arts and culture show Big City, Small World introduced Amanda Martinez, telling the story of how they first met in Claudia’s CBC studio. Amanda had come in with guitarist Kevin Laliberté to do an interview and to sing a song. “Here was this young woman I had heard about, all shy and nervous”, Claudia said, “but when she opened her mouth to sing she transformed into this graceful swan. I was hooked.” Judging from the packed room at the Drake, Amanda Martinez has won over many ears along the way. As people tried to squeeze by in front of the stage, one woman remarked, “she already needs a bigger venue!”
Amanda Martinez

Later in the show, Amanda Martinez sang the song she wrote and performed with Kevin Laliberté for that radio segment, “Diciembre”, dreamy and soft, but still rhythmic. Thinking about it, I realize that her phrasing, her rhythmic sense and her capacity to keep the soft and slow tunes moving — ebbing and flowing but always heading on — is one of her strengths. Her more obvious qualities are the way she feels a lyric, communicating the feeling whether you understand the words or not with her distinctive, breathy voice, sometimes using a characteristic catching at the back of throat that is powerfully emotive.
Her band? As she said, she is lucky to have such a great band behind her and she was fortunate that all of the personnel from her CD, except for one of the violinists, Sheila Gruner, could make it on this occasion. This was no small feat considering most of them have their own bands or solo careers and are always busy. It would be impossible for me to single out any one musician from the band here. What stood out about everyone was the level of their musicianship. They played so well and looked so amazingly happy. Much warmth radiated from that stage.

Warmth came from the audience as well, listening and responding to Amanda Martinez as she sang the songs from her new CD, songs in Spanish, English and Portuguese. When she took up the guitar to accompany herself on the dramatic “La Llorona”, the man beside me leaned to his friend and said, “I love the way she does this”. As I said, she has earned many fans over her few years as an artist. No doubt she will continue to earn new ones with performances such as this and her new CD. From the childlike innocence with which she sings the jazz standard “Look to the Rainbow”, to the womanly "Guajira Sola", the tenderness of the Brazilian standard “Manha de Carnaval” and the yearning of her own “Volar”, to name a few, this first CD represents her well.

Amanda Martinez told the crowd she didn’t know when she started out how much work producing a CD was going to be, but she made it — I’m so glad she did. So were the many people who lined up to buy her CD that night. So will be those who have not yet heard her.


The Musicians
Amanda Martinez – vocals, guitar
Kevin Laliberté – guitar
Julio Cesar Jimenez – piano
George Koller – bass
Ruddy Bolanos – baby bass
Osvaldo Rodriguez – violin
Rosendo “Chendy” Leon – percussion, drums
Alex Brown – trumpet
Carlos Bloomfield Berry – congas




We welcome your comments and feedback
Joyce Corbett • • • • • • Roger Humbert • •

The Live Music Report

- The Live Music Report

"Hear them, then hear them Cds by festival players"

Hear them, then hear them again ... new CDs by festival players
Jun. 22, 2006. 01:00 AM

Recent discs by Toronto Jazz Festival headliners, with an endnote on when and where they're playing:

Vocalist and deejay Amanda Martinez elegantly explores her Latin heritage on the 10 tracks of her debut indie release Sola (), for which she penned five. (Gate 403 tomorrow, Mezzetta Wednesday)

Leading Russian tenorman Igor Butman, whose furious bebop I last enjoyed in Moscow, plays fiercely à la Sonny Rollins as well as warm, big-toned ballads on Nostalgie ( , Soyuz Records) with American sidemen (Gladstone, Monday).

Swedish singer Jeanette Lindstrom on Walk (, Amigo) deals with 15 songs intimately, imaginatively and in English, with backing from hip countrymen. (Gladstone, June 29)

Cuban-born pianist Hilario Duran features small combo Perspectiva on Encuentro en la Habana ( , Alma), 10 tunes convincingly marrying complex Latin rhythmic forms with western jazz. (Mainstage, July 1)

Norway's electro-funk-jazz foursome Wibutee is led by Hakon Kornstad, who does saxes, flutes, vocals, piano, melodica and keys. Their nine-cut album Sweet Mental ( , Sonne Disk) is very accessible fusion. (Gladstone, Wednesday)

Tasa, led by tabla master Ravi Naimpally, attractively fuses Indian music with western harmonies and jazz on Urban Turban (, Tasamusic) with three guest vocalists. (Concord Café, Wednesday)

Versatile crooner George Evans cruises comfortably through 13 standards on Bewitched (, M-Swing Records) backed by Toronto's best jazzers and a string group. (Distillery, Saturday)

Geoff Chapman - Toronto Star

"Amanda Martinez, - SOLA"

Si una voz aterciopelada ilumina las letras de una vieja canción, un torrente de palabras originales nos conmueve con su sensatez y esa voz y letras nos transportan a nuestras raíces llenándonos de nostalgia y alegría, al fin sabemos que lo que escuchamos es música que cumple con su propósito. Amanda Martínez, intérprete y compositora canadiense de origen mexicano y sudafricano nos lleva a esa exacta dimensión sensorial con su primer disco, “Sola”.
El nombre del CD surge entre-sueños para Martínez y se convierte en un nítido reflejo de su personalidad e ideas. Según la cantante, “Sola” es una oda a la independencia que experimentó al tomar por las riendas la creación de su disco independiente y también proyecta el contenido predominante de la obra: canciones de añoranza tanto amorosa como personal. “Además,” dice Martínez, “la soledad no es un estado precisamente negativo.”
“Sola” cuenta con diez temas, ocho en español, uno en portugués y otro en inglés que cubren un amplio espectro musical. El tono apasionado de la intérprete nos pasea por un sinfín de sentimientos entre sonidos de guitarras, violines y percusión que juntos componen canciones que suenan a jazz latino, bossa nova y folklore pampeño y andino.
Cinco de las canciones son originales, compuestas por Martínez. “Cántame” se destaca por la perfecta combinación de la voz de Amanda y los armoniosos acordes de la guitarra española. “Guajira Sola” explora la música de un país que frecuentemente recibe a la cantante y cuya cultura la apasiona: Cuba. Es demasiado fácil imaginarse a uno mismo, mientras escucha el tema, caminando por las calles de La Habana en una fresca noche de verano. “Mírame... no soy la misma ilusión. Escúchame, canto una nueva canción. Acércate, para sentir tus labios. Dígame, seguirás tu traición,” canta al ritmo de las trompetas. A pesar de evocar el desengaño amoroso, la letra de “Guajira Sola” parece mostrar un nuevo comienzo en la vida profesional de la cantante quien solo pudo empezar a dedicarse a la música cinco años atrás, cuando decidió dejar de lado el mundo de los negocios.
Martínez compuso “Diciembre” en la época de Navidad, realidad que se percibe inmediatamente al escucharla. Empaquetada en una combinación de jazz latino y bossa nova, nos trae el frío invierno del norte y la nostalgia de un amor que no se puede olvidar. “Dragón” es un homenaje a sus raíces ya que la canción fusiona el inglés y el español en una metáfora personal con la cual Martínez nos permite llegar a nuestras propias conclusiones. Sin embargo, indudablemente, el tema inédito que por su música y palabras honestas tiene el mayor potencial de mover a una audiencia, es “Volar”. “Quiero volar... quiero cantar... la única manera a mi libertad...”, entona en su voz firme pero emotiva entre guitarras, “... pa’ decirte que ya tengo la fuerza de seguir, tu aventura y tus riesgos, tu pasión por vivir.” Claramente biográfica, “Volar” fue compuesta para su padre. “A él le costaba apoyarme cuando comencé a cantar y en esta canción intenté hacerle entender que estaba pronta para el reto,” explica Martínez. De la misma forma en que su padre un día llegó a Canadá desde México en una bicicleta, Amanda sabía que le había llegado la hora de enfrentar su propio destino. Con un estribillo pegadizo, “Volar” se convierte en un perfecto exponente del estilo de la cantante.
Los otros cinco temas son temas “prestados” que Martínez seleccionó de una vida de horas junto a los discos de su padre. Entre los temas folklóricos esta “Gracias a la vida” de la chilena Violeta Parra que adquiere un sabor único cuando Amanda agudiza su voz para resaltar su sentimiento. En “La llorona”, una canción popular oaxaqueña, las cuerdas del violín y la guitarra desprenden la imagen del trote de un caballo. También en el mundo del folklore elige a “Alfonsina y el Mar”, una canción interpretada por una de sus ídolas musicales: “La Negra” adorada de San Miguel de Tucumán, Mercedes Sosa. Con una infusión de jazz latino y candombe, Martínez la hace suya.
La canción en portugués es “Maña de Carnaval” en donde ella plasma su voz en pura bossa nova, un genero que le queda de maravillas. “Look to the Rainbow”, en inglés, emana de la película “Finian’s Rainbow” (1968) de Francis Ford Copola y proporciona un adecuado final al disco al sugerir que miremos al futuro y sigamos nuestros sueños—exactamente la actitud que Martínez adquiere en su vida profesional habiéndole permitido desafiar adversidades y llegar a destacarse en su genero musical.
“Sola” contó con la colaboración de Evaristo Machado, Kevin Laliberte (guitarra), Julio César Jiménez (piano), Rosendo “Chendy” León (percusión), Osvaldo Rodríguez (violín), George Koller (bajo/productor) y tres invitados: Alex Brown (trompeta), Rudy Bolaños (bajo) y Sheila Gruner (violín).
La producción fue lanzada el 22 de Junio en el Drake Hotel y estará a la venta en Sam the Record Man, Soundscapes y L’Atelier Grigorian a partir de la misma fecha.

Por: Carolina Rzeznikiewiz
- Carolina Rzeznikiewiz

"High marks for Latin jazz artist"

When Toronto songstress Amanda Martinez launches her second album, Amor, with an Oct. 23 concert in the brand-new Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory of Music, she’ll have an extra reason for pre-performance nerves. “When I was growing up I studied classical piano, and I used to take my exams at the Conservatory. I’d always have these nervous butterflies going into that building. It’s very cool to be performing there now. I got to see Koerner Hall while it was under construction, and it’s just beautiful.”
The fact that Ms. Martinez can now headline such a venue testifies to the rapid career strides she has taken since the 2006 release of her debut album, Sola, a record for which she had no specific expectations. “You’d think that as a business graduate [an MBA], I’d have had sales tar- gets and a big plan,” she says. “I really just went on blind faith. I had the fire in me that I had to get this music out there. I just felt I was bringing some good energy to the uni- verse and was hoping people would respond. In that sense, I
guess it did exceed any expectation I must have had some- where.”
The audience did respond. Sola received solid airplay, sold an impressive 5,000 copies, and earned Martinez both a Best World Music Artist trophy at Toronto’s Independent Music Awards
and a National Jazz Award nomination. Her profile was boosted by her guest appearance on guitarist Jesse Cook’s album Frontiers, singing the traditional Mexican tune La Llorona, as well as a long-running stint as a radio host of popular local radio show Cafe´ Latino. Martinez toured inter- nationally with Cook, to encouraging feedback. Her
first New York City date comes in November at the legendary Blue Note, and she’s optimistic that her music has commercial potential beyond Canada.
Much of her material is sung in Spanish, and Martinez is most commonly described as a Latin jazz artist. That is a little confining, as elements of bossa nova, folk and world music are also featured in her work. “Growing up, my influences covered a wide range of styles,” she says. “I worked in musical theatre and did cabaret. I do like the more dramatic songs, but also the soft and sensual Brazilian music.”
Half the compositions on Sola were Martinez originals, and she ups that ratio on Amor, a record she describes as “a little lighter than Sola. I wanted to feature more of the collaborations I’d been work- ing on with my band. It has been four years since recording the first album, and in that time we’ve developed as a strong unit. There are some songs here we started completely from scratch, such as the opening one, Gitana. I had a certain vibe in mind for it, a gypsy/Middle Eastern sensibil- ity. We lit candles, I explained it, we improvised the music together and I came up with lyrics later on my own.”
The singer’s core band com- prises A-list Toronto players: guitarist Kevin Laliberte, bassist Drew Birston (her hus- band), percussionist Rosendo (Chendy) Leon, violinist Osvaldo Rodriguez and trum- peter Alexander Brown. “We all bring a different way of approaching music,” says Martinez. “Kevin is an engi- neer turned nouveau flamenco guitarist, my husband is from jazz and the pop world, then the Cubanos in the group [Leon, Rodriguez and Brown] have so much energy and passion for the music. It always feels like a big party when we get together. I usually cook for the rehearsals, and it is just fun!”
Martinez enjoys a reputation as a warm and charming entertainer. “Performance is my first love,” she says. “I had my first taste of the stage in a camp play when I was 9 and quite shy. I love the chemistry that happens in the moment between the musicians, and with the audience as well. That’s something I genuinely live for.”
-Thursday, September 24, 2009
- Globe and Mail

""Amor" Amanda Martinez"

Amanda Martinez is in love. Marriage and a new baby have coloured her already sweet disposition and prompted her to produce this tribute to the promise that life holds, called, of course, “Amor”. With her long-time guitarist Kevin Laliberté and newer collaborator, husband and bass player Drew Birston, Martinez traverses the borders between various Latin musics, pop and jazz. Flamenco is the chief influencer, rearing its exotic head on Gitana, an ode to a gypsy dancer, and Te Prometo, a sort of mellow At Last by way of the Mediterranean. Cuban bandmates Chendy Leon (percussion) and Alexander Brown (trumpet) get to show off their roots on Tómalo and Martinez’s Mexican heritage asserts itself on Alma Mia. Throughout, she channels the gorgeous Mexicana cantora, Lila Downs. Although Martinez doesn’t have the guts and throatiness that distinguish Downs, her trademark straddling of chest and head voice is there and reinterpreted appealingly by Martinez’s pretty mezzo. It takes a lot of confidence to sing a song that has been covered often and performed perfectly, as is the case with Cucurrucucú Paloma and in particular, Caetano Veloso’s version of it, (if you’ve never heard it, do yourself a favour and seek it out on YouTube) but Martinez does her own beautiful, heartrending version here, appropriately ending the record with a reminder that love has its painful side, too.

Concert note: Amanda Martinez’s CD release concert is at the newly opened Koerner Hall on October 23.
-Written by Cathy Riches
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - WholeNote

"HEARTBEATS-Amanda Martinez Latin Love Affair"

Amanda Martinez is clearly not averse to taking risks. In 2001, the Toronto singer-songwriter left a successful career in banking to concentrate on music, a decision she likens to jumping off a cliff. "A leap of faith is the only way I can describe it because there was no plan except for this sense that I had to follow my heart and go for it," She explains. It turned out to be the right decision. Martinez got a band together (including her eventual husband, bassist Drew Birston and released an acclaimed album, SOLA, which led to National Jazz Award nominations, hosting a Latin-jazz radio show on Jazz FM91 and touring with Jesse Cook. Its follow-up, AMOR (Outside Music), is a lovely set of Latin-jazz-folk-world-music songs partly inspired by the birth of her son, Leo. Martinez,who was trained on the piano and grew up speaking English, left her comfort zone to write songs for AMOR in Spanish and on guitar. "I'm drawn to the guitar when I'm writing, and I feel more comfortable using Spanish than English," she says. "It's such a poetic, beautiful language." Interestingly, fearlessness seems to run in her family. Martinez's music is featured in CICLO, a film about the 80-day bicycle journey her father and uncle took from Mexico to Toronto in 1956. "It's a story I tell when I'm performing because one song on my first album was a tribute to my father," she says. "He was really skeptical about me leaving my career to do music because of the risks involved. But he took such a risk on that journey; had he not done that I wouldn't be here, and our lives would be so different."
-written by Mary Dickie - ELLE CANADA MAGAZINE

"Ladies Night"

Live Reviews
Ladies' night
JANE BUNNETT with ZAKI IBRAHIM , AMANDA MARTINEZ , MUNA MINGOLE , TANYA TAGAQ GILLIS and KELLYLEE EVANS as part of GLOBAL DIVAS at Kool Haus, March 30. Tickets: $30. Attendance: 1,000 Rating: NNN
A slightly stuffy vibe permeated the Kool Haus last Thursday - prob'ly a natural symptom of fundraising (for a worthy cause, St. Stephen's Community House , mind you).

There was a silent auction of artwork, a glossy sponsor-logo-heavy program, bubbly hosting courtesy of Garvia Bailey, punctuated by reminders to donate, and, most importantly, a wealth of talented musicians performing some pretty sophisticated stuff.

Widely respected, multi-award-copping Jane Bunnett , musical director of Global Divas , got her Ron Burgundy on, demonstrating her virtuosity with the flute all night. She seemed quite content to use the playful meanderings of her instrument as garnish for the robust lineup of guest performers.

World-travelling South African singer Zaki Ibrahim caught the vibe. Commenting on how thrilling it was to be working with these wonderful ladies and joking about the atmosphere (and backrubs) backstage. Then she took patrons a little by surprise by the music that followed.

Backed by Bunnett's seven-piece Spirits of Havana band, the Digable Planets/Rascalz collaborator used her stunningly deep, husky voice for scatting, soulful belts and sung rap flows, moving from rap to samba to who knows what. A more varied Zap Mama, or a less shrill Nelly Furtado came to mind as Ibrahim danced and bebopped to Bunnett's gleaming gold flute.

Amanda Martinez , composer, performer and host of Jazz FM 91.1's Café Latino, who for her busyness and music-industry moving and shaking had Garvia calling her "the Oprah of Latin music," was a hit with the audience.

Were I Paula Abdul, I might say that even after Ibrahim's dynamite set, Martinez still managed to "make it her own." Her hypnotic originals – including the mesmerizing Diciembre – boosted an already solid voice/stage presence. Traversing several Latin styles, she moved from emotive depths to a tickling lounge-like lightness. Heavy piano chords, glowing coronet and fluttery flute solos iced the cake.

Sadly, it looked like about a hundred people left before or during the performance by final diva Muna Mingole ' – "the blue flame of Cameroon." I'm guessing it was due to lateness and unfamiliarity, since her penetrating voice and rousing dances didn't lower the night's quality for a second.

NOW | APRIL 6 - 12, 2006 | VOL. 25 NO. 32 - NOW Magazine


Amanda Martinez"Amor"2009

Alex Cuba "Alex Cuba" 2009

Jesse Cook - "Frontiers"- 2007

Amanda Martinez "Sola"-2006

Amanda Martinez- EP- 2005
Cantamos en Espanol (Fisher Price)-2005

Sing-a-long (Hallmark)-2005



Amanda Martinez -BIO

"Reminiscent of the Latin songstress of days of old…strong and defiant while soft and vulnerable...”
- METRO news

A distinctive Latin / Jazz artist, Amanda Martinez brings flair and variety to each and every one of her songs. Her sound is a blend of musical influences, including flamenco inspired rhythms, Afro-Cuban beats and Mexican folk music. The Toronto based singer - songwriter records her albums almost entirely in Spanish, but most of her fan base is English speaking, her first language.

In June 2010, Martinez traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to perform as part of the FIFA fan fests during the World Cup Celebrations. It was Martinez’ first time in her Mother’s homeland, where she performed her new song Sueños Posibles (Dreams Realized) written in honor of the opening game at the World cup (Mexico vs. South Africa) in tribute to her South African mother and Mexican father. Martinez’s brought her family and fellow band mates on the voyage, which will be captured on film in anticipation for release as a documentary.

Martinez’s sophomore album Amor, which was released in 2009, is a collection of songs she wrote while pregnant with her son Leo. The album hit number one on the iTunes World Music Chart in 2009, and has been consistently included as one of the Top 10 albums on the iTunes World Music Charts throughout 2010. Produced by George Seara (Holly Cole, Herbie Hancock, Sting), who also co-produced her debut album Sola (2006), the album features Martinez’s longtime collaborative musical partners, Kevin Laliberté (guitar), Drew Birston (bass), Rosendo “Chendy” Leon (percussion) Alexander Brown (trumpet) and Osvaldo Rodriguez (violin) whom she credits her eclectic fusion of sound. The album also features new flavours from guests Kevin Fox (cello), Robi Botos (piano) and Tom Szczesniak (accordion). Last fall while touring in support of the album, Martinez sold out Toronto’s 1100 seat Koerner Hall, at the Royal Conservatory in addition to performing to a full house at New York’s Bluenote Jazz Club.

February 2008 marked a huge change in Martinez’s career when she accepted an invitation to travel with award winning guitarist Jesse Cook and performed at the International Jazz Festival of Dubai and New York’s Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Centre. Later that year she received the Emerging Artist Award from FACTOR (Foundation for Assisting Canadian Talent) and funding from Canada Council for the Arts for her album Amor. It was also that same year that Martinez decided to leave her three year position as host/producer at JAZZ FM91 where she launched Café Latino, Canada’s Latin jazz show, in order to commit to her artistry as a composer and performer.

Born in Canada to a Mexican father and South African mother, Martinez grew up in a house that loved music. Although she spent her early years immersed in music, studying classical piano and ballet, Martinez obtained an undergraduate degree in biology and later completed her master’s degree in international business. However, it was after only one year as an associate director of finance at one of Canada’s leading banks that she made the decision to leave her career in business to pursue music full time and professionally.

For three consecutive years starting in 2007, Martinez was nominated for Latin Jazz Artist of the Year at Canada’s National Jazz Awards, and her debut album Sola won for Best World Music Album, selling over 6000 copies and becoming Toronto’s top selling indie release. While maintaining a busy performing schedule, Martinez has also been cast to guest star in various television roles including Gemini nominated ReGenesis, Life with Derek, & Train 48. One of her roles led to a collaboration with director Naomi Jaye who developed her first music video Guajira Sola in addition to directing Martinez’s upcoming video Gitana, set for release this summer. In 2009 Martinez’s music was featured in the short film Every Girl Wants a Skirt like Frida, which will air March 28th, in addition to the documentary Ciclo, based on the bicycle journey that Martinez’s father and uncle took from Mexico to Canada 53 years ago.

2010 has already proven an exciting year for Martinez, with a performance alongside Jesse Cook at a sold out Massey Hall. Martinez begins her first national festival tour this summer upon her return from the World Cup, that promises to wow the crowd with her incredible live performance. With this tour, audiences will feel Amor and continue to be amazed night after night by her energetic, soothing and playful performances. Martinez’ music transcends the barriers of language, a romantic journey that sweeps audiences off their feet.

For publicity inquiries or to request an interview, please contact:
Strut Entertainment
Nicola Krishna (416) 861-0387

For Bookings (Canadian/International)
SL Feldman & Associates
Richard Mills