Martín Better

An Ecuadorian who, at the age of nearly eight years old, immigrated to the United States. While his parents came to the U.S. with the intention of providing more opportunities for him and his little brothers, his desire for reconnecting with his Latino roots was something he could not ignore.

 

After studying abroad in Buenos Aires he took a semester off from college to do a backpacking trip throughout South America. He financed his trip with the generous support of his parents, money saved up from restaurant jobs in the U.S., working in hostels during the trip, living with rigorous simplicity (camping out more than sleeping in beds and eating only the necessary amount), and also by playing guitar and singing in the streets and in restaurants in the cities that he traversed.

 

Traveling through Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru before reaching his native country, he encountered the juxtaposition of the cosmopolitan and the secluded, small-town worlds of each of these countries. These encounters instilled in him a fascination for the arts that are produced through the convergence of these two worlds. He was primarily drawn to a movement known as, Tropicália, which formed during the late 60s and consists of musicians that superimpose rural Brazilian music, like samba and folklore, with pop/rock and roll arrangements from the international urban world. Although his initial attraction to the Tropicalista movement was purely aesthetic, he later realized that the music was lyrically rich with political connotation that emphasized social transformation at a time of oppressive military authoritarianism.

 

Upon his return to the Loyola University of New Orleans he was required by the humanities department to do a thesis/capstone project. Thanks to the incredibly supportive faculty of the Latin American Studies department, he obtained a sponsorship from the university to present a lecture/ concert on South American protest music in one of the university’s performance halls. Exploring the revolutionary music of artists from Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, the presentation unfolded through a combination of mediums - public speaking, powerpoint presentation, and musical performance. Accompanied by a band of 6 musicians, he interpreted the music of the musicians of the 60s and 70s, including Caetano Veloso, Víctor Jara, and Mercedes Sosa, who vigorously opposed the military regimes that subjugated their people to systematic forms of oppression.

 

After having graduated in May, 2016, he has been playing music in New Orleans while working in public service. He is eager to perform music that consists of both sides of the american hemispheres. However, he has found that such work involves a language barrier, and wishes to learn from other bilingual artists who deal with this barrier.

 

Más que nada, tiene un corazón con gran apetito para el arte diverso que es social/culturalmente impactante.