ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program, master artist Eduardo Martínez Arvilla proposed a project to share his knowledge of Afro-Colombian music and traditions, with another master musician, Alberto López. The two professional musicians are of Colombian heritage, Eduardo is a native of the coastal Caribbean city of Cartagena, from which the Afro Colombian traditions emerge, and though Alberto was raised in Medellin, his roots are in the coastal area of Cartagena and Barranquilla, where his paternal grandfather’s family lived and where he visited often. He nostalgically states, “that was the part of Colombia that I loved the most, the folklore, the culture, everything…. It seemed like the coastal area culture was the more lively one, which I enjoyed the most.” Alberto actually came to the United States when he was 12 years old and studied and played mostly classical and popular music. It was when he began studying with master musicians of Brazilian and Cuban traditions that he began to realize the value of folklore and traditions. He desired to learn more about his own heritage and the Colombian folklore, but there was no one in the Los Angeles area that attained that knowledge. It was by chance that Alberto met Eduardo at a Cuban ceremony, because Eduardo also was into Afro-Cuban folklore. Alberto, upon hearing his name, put it together that he had known of Eduardo and had heard about him through conversations with other musicians, and that he already had recordings of him.
The two immediately developed a bond and began working together on different projects such as a recorded methodology on Afro-Colombian rhythms. They have also performed together with different groups, one being the Justo Almario Afro Colombian Jazz Ensemble.