Luís José Martins
Lisbon, 1978. Guitarist, composer, arranger and improviser.
Throughout his career, Luís José Martins has worked in such dissimilar areas as contemporary classical music and the traditional song format. Within these two fields, his musical approach has left a distinctive mark in all the projects he's been a part of, as much so in Deolinda as in Almost a Song (with Joana Sá), Powertrio (with Joana Sá and Eduardo Raon) or in Turbamulta (with Eduardo, Joana, Nuno Aroso and Luís André Ferreira).
He studied classical guitar in Lisbon, Paris, Orléans and Castelo Branco, where he completed his degree on the instrument. In Paris, he studied with Uruguayan master Betho Davezac, having earned the Diplôme de Perfectionnement (Conservatoire Marcel Dupré, Meudon/Paris). His training as an interpreter and his interest in the mythology of the guitar have been a constant in his work, both in his search for a unique voice, as in the creation of a sound that finds its depth in the familiar characteristics and the rich timbre of the guitar. On the other hand, he tries to explore the limits of the instrument through the expansion of idiomatic resources and extensive techniques, such as amplification and electronics, preparations and scordaturas. The most definitive result of his evolution and investigation is his recent creation ‘Tentos, invenções e encantamentos’ (attempts, inventions and enchantments), a collection of six pieces for classical guitar, prepared guitar, electronics and percussion released by Shhpuma.
Within the realm of traditional songwriting, his work has been widely acclaimed, both arranging and composing. In collaboration with his brother Pedro da Silva Martins, he has written songs for several renowned Portuguese artists, such as António Zambujo, Ana Moura, Cristina Branco, Hélder Moutinho and Mariza. His approach in this format is based on the search for a creative musical discourse, founded mostly upon the Portuguese song and the legacy of its most important creators. With Joana Sá, he has developed a vast collaborative work in creating music for theatre, film and projects for children, the duo having coordinated the music area of CENTA – Centro de Estudos de Novas Tendências Artísticas.
He performs regularly, both as a solo artist and with his various projects, in the most prestigious venues, and has recorded for several of the most important labels, radio stations and television programs, both in Portugal and abroad.
Luís José Martins is also a guest member of musical projects Moondog (founded by Filipe Melo and João Lobo) and Secret Museum of Mankind (founded by João Nicolau and Mariana Ricardo).