Epi Martinez has been playing music with family and friends since he was 6 years old. He has since toured the world with numerous artists and is now dedicated to preserving the Conjunto heritage of South Texas.
An awarded expert on the Bajo Sexto, Epi is a 2017 inductee into the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame. His multi-instrument work with Frijoles Romaticos garnered a 2003 Grammy Nomination.
A world renowned percussionist, Epi can be found behind the drums every Tuesday at the historic theater, Cine El Ray, in downtown McAllen, TX. He’s also a dynamic and award vocalist.
Epi calls her his “secret weapon”, his mother, Cruz, began singing with Epifanio Sr. many years ago. She continues sharing her award winning vocals, now with her son, as they continue to perserve South Texas Conjunto Music.
Cruz was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the South Texas Conjunto Association in 2017. She and the late Epifanio Martinez Sr. were also honored with the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame induction in 2017.
Cruz is as comfortable onstage singing lead vocals as she is adding harmony to the Mother and Son duo. There’s sincerity in her vocal delivery that’s a lost art from today’s popular music. With Cruz, the traditions continue.
Epi and Friends has included numerous musicians at many different venues. Performing regularly along with Epi and Cruz is Aldo, Juanito, Javier and Andy. Many life long friends and pioneers are always welcome to share the stage. Please visit the Photo Gallery page or connect on Facebook to see more pictures of the family and friends that have helped make up “Epi and Friends”
Epi Martinez Jr. BiographyOne can say that Epi Jr. Martinez was born into the music business. His first musical influences could be credited to his parents Epifanio and Cruz Martinez. Epi Jr. was born December 3rd, 1972. His career spans from 1978 to the present time. At an early age, Epi would be persistent and ambitious to learn to play many instruments. His early beginning could be of him going to his parents practices and playing with the drummers cases. Epifanio Sr. made a drum set built from different pieces to keep his son busy while practicing. Of all the many legendary friends his parents had, Epi would say Ruben Vela captured his ears. He has a great unique style and Epi was determined to learn, at the age of 6. Epi would later get a 5 piece slingerland drum set and eventually his White Rogers R 380 with which he had a chance to use in a recording at Gilberto Perez studios. Epi Jr., now the age of 44, has a resume that is very impressive from working on commercials, recordings and performing with many artist. He has had the privileged to perform at many prestigious festivals, such as the Wahoo Country Music Festival where he recently won the Director’s Choice award. Epi Jr. is also a 2003 Grammy Award nominee for Frijoles Romanticos, Best Tejano Album. In 2007, Epi won Percussionist of Year Award for the Texas Industry at the Tejano Music Awards. He has helped several other artists accomplish many things. Now its time for him to focus on his own career, in which he is dedicated to maintaining and carrying on his family legacy. Currently, his band, Epi and Friends, which he shares the stage with his mom Cruz. His goal is to travel and perform around the world with his music. At this time, there is no stopping this passionate and versatile young man. January 6, 2019 Epi Martinez was inducted into The Tejano Roots Hall of Fame for Bajo Sexto.History1978 -late 80’s Epi Jr, at an early age had to learn rhythms like Polkas, cumbias,chotises, wapangos merequetenges, Balses and slow pieces. In the early 80’s, Epi Jr. at age 8,would have his first recording with his mom, on a 45 single with the songs Pueblo Viejo and Sigue Tu Camino with Happy Records, a label owned by his dad. Epi’s career would give him exposure in performing in many functions, such as weddings, Quinces, anniversaries, parades, TV shows, magazines, album covers, and political events like for President Clinton and many other functions. Epi grew up hearing and playing Tejano/Conjunto along with some country music. Mainly because of his parents,they enjoyed hearing Hank Williams, and loved the duets of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Epi Jr.’s versatility as a young boy has allowed him to become an opening act for many legends such Ram Herrera,Pio Trevino Y Magic, Mazz , La Mafia, and Nube Negra.and many more. 1980-2014Epi was privileged to have been given a lot of advice from one of the best known Producer, composer Juan H Barron. Who in Epi’s eyes is one of the best percussionist, drummer singer songwriter, of all time. Epi Jr. has many years of experience and has had opportunities to make a difference with many Tejano/Conjunto artists. Epi has had the privileged to record with Rondli Records, Freddie Records, Happy Records, and many more . Epi Jr. is a self taught musician who plays many instruments such as drums, bajo, guitar, bass, congas, vihuela, and much more. His love for this industry and passion drives him to keep learning and picking up new things. He had an opportunity to be one of the first to record on a cd-rom and a be part of a graphic digital video as technology has changed and evolved our music medium as we know it today. Epi was a free lance agent and has played with many Tejano/Conjunto bands that include Inspiracion,, Los 4 de Valle, Ruben Vela, Los Hermanos Layton, Arturo Nino, Dezeo,,Wally Garza Y Sangre Tejana, Elida Y Avante, and Frijoles Romanticos. You can see that Epi is very passionate about the music industry. He has been part of many projects that include albums, songs, recordings, musical tours ,TV shows, and the opportunity to travel to Mexico ,and across the United States .,and oversees, as well. You may be surprised to know,that Epi Jr. helped with the recording ofthe Mariachi song “Duele” by Elida. . On this recording Epi Jr. used the Vihuela. Which is a small 5 string nylon guitar with a belly in the back. You may be surprised to hear Epi Jr. on recordings such as, from Bobby Pulido, Duelo,Masizzo, Jesse Turner, Big Circo, Stephanie Lynn, Zereno Retonio, Roberto Pulido, New VarietyBand, Paulino Bernal, Gilberto Perez, Arturo Nino ,Noemi, Solido , David Lee Garza and Joel Guzman..The list goes on. He has accompanied and performed with artist such as Ruben Vela, Roberto Pulido,Tony De La Rosa, Juan Villreal , Ruben Ramos, Sunny Ozuna, Mario Montez, Jimmy Gonzales Y Grupo Mazz, David Lee Garza, Jamie Y Los Chammacos , Chacha Jimenez, Frankie Cabellero, Juanito Castillo with Rio Jordan, Ram Herrera , Steve Jordan, Jesse Serrata, Los Desperados, David Hidalgo,of Los Lobos, Ruben de la Cruz, Max Baca Y los Texmaniacs , Nick Villareal and the list continues.