Maribel Quinones began her artistic career in 1981 in the Andalusian group Jarcha when they began their search for a more flamencan feel. It is at this moment that Martirio is born, a character created by Maribel renowned for her big “peinetas” (Spanish decorative hair combs), her dark glasses and her dresses that combine folklore and postmodernism.
In 1984 Martirio forms part of the group Veneno, lead by Kiko Veneno and the members of Pata Negra, Rafael and Raimundo Amador. Her first record Estoy Mala is released in 1986. This is her first intent at introducing and bringing together Spanish copla and pop-rock. With this record she tours both Spain and France. In 1989 Martirio edits her second record Cristalitos Machacaos in which touches of jazz and blues are introduced for the first time into her reinterpretation of copla. In 1991 Sony releases her third record La Bola de la Vida y del Amor, one of her most daring works in which she looks for a fusion between copla and new music under the musical influence Peter Gabriel. In 1994 He Visto Color is edited, in which the genre of Sevillianas is given a shake up mixing it with blues, jazz, rap, pop, Arabian music or swing. This same year she makes her first screen appearance in the film of Iciar Bollaín, “Belmonte”.
She debuts as a theatre actress, working on a six month tour with Centro Andaluz de Teatro, in Pedro Álvarez Osorio’s “Don Juan, Carnaval de Amor y Muerte” in the role of Doña Ana De Ullos. She takes the leading role under the direction of José Luis Cuerda in two episodes of the series Makinavaja (La 2, Television Española) as well as in the film Más Allá del Jardín with Pedro Olea, a film that received several nominations for the Spanish Film Academy Awards known as Goya.
In 1997 her fifth musical work is released: the CD-book Coplas de Madrugá, a selection of copla classics with jazz accompaniment, a recording with Chano Domínguez (piano), Guillermo McGuill (drums) and Javier Colina (double bass). It is due to her that copla is heard in jazz festivals for the first time, performing in a dozen of the most important Spanish festivals on the promotional tour begun in the year prior to its release. This same year Martirio records Lo Mejor de La Vida with Compay Segundo, with whom she tours Spain and France. In 1999 she publishes her first book LaVuelta a Martirio en 40 Trajes (Planeta) in collaboration with the poet Juan Cobos Wilkins and with a prologue by José Luís Sampedro. In these autobiographical lines and through her wardrobe, the singer reveals her emotional iconography. In the same year Flor de Piel is released, a work that chooses tracks from a Hispanic-American repertoire, accompanied by her son, the flamenco guitarist Raúl Rodríguez.
At the end of 2001 Mucho Corazón is released, the record which closes the trilogy of the search for, finding and adapting of classical compositions of the Latin songbook. With the production of Raúl Rodriguez and Martirio, Mucho Corazón finishes the work begun in the two previous albums. In this work, Martirio is accompanied by a flamenco group from Moron de la Frontera, by the the trio Chano Domínguez, and by Raul, who is also responsible for all the musical arrangements. We also find collaborations from Pablo Martín on the bass, the guitar of Nono García, the piano of Jesús Lavilla and the trumpet and the flugelhorn of the maestro Jerry González. With this record Martirio travels to Puerto Rico, where she is made adoptive daughter of San Juan by decry, to Bogotá, and to Medellín, where she receives the keys to the city in an official act in the mayor’s office in Alpujarra.
In 2002 she collaborates on the record Mujer with Fito Páez’s “yo vengo a ofrecer mi Corazon,” a record which hopes to increase awareness in breast cancer and to whom proceeds of the record go, Promotion and concerts continue throughout Spain. Particularly memorable are both the premiere in February in Madrid of Mucho Corazón (Teatro Pavón) and in Barcelona (La Paloma) where the reviews are unbeatable. In September she takes part in three cinema projects: In the film of Ventura Pons “El Gran Gato” for which “Granito De Sal” is recorded; for Fernando Colomo’s film “Al Sur de Granada” the track “Pena de Amor”; and for Franco Battiatto’s “Perdutto Amor”, “La Noche Oscura”. In November, Nuevos Medios edits a compilation of the two first records of Martirio, “Estoy Mala” and “Cristalitos Machacaos”, for their 25th anniversary collection.
On her own behalf, she records two tracks for the brand “Absolut Vodka”, who chose the record covers of Alaska and Martirio as their Spanish image. An exhibition is held on 17th September in the Casa de Vacas in Madrid’s Retiro to promote this project in which Martirio and Alaska each adapt a song of the other, Alaska interpreting Martirio’s “Reo” and Martirio “Cierra Los Ojos” by Fangoria. The performance is closed with a duo: “A Quién Le Importa” by Alaska & Dinarama.
In 2003 La Bola de la Vida y del Amor is reedited. She collaborates in a performance by Ramón Oller’s dance company, based on “Carmen”. Several of Martirio’s songs appear in this production and an adaptation of the classic “Habanera” is recorded with arrangements by Raúl Rodríguez and interpreted by Martirio. The premiere, with her presence on stage, forms part of the Festival de Peralada in August. In October it is performed in the Teatro Lliure in Barcelona. She takes part as an actress in “Iris”, the new film by the Catalonian director Rosa Vergés, which is presented in April 2004 at the Malaga Film Festival.
At the beginning of 2004 Acoplados is recorded live in the Teatro Monumental in Madrid, which is released in May of the same year. On this record she reunites with Chano Domínguez, with whom she worked on Coplas de Madrugá, returning to give their own re- interpretation of copla. They are accompanied by the Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE (Spanish Television) and a big band. The record is presented for the first time in January for the inauguration of the Auditorio de Roquetas de Mar. In February she embarks on a project that brings together the grand lady of Argentinean tango, Susana Rinaldi. A group of Argentinean and flamenco musicians accompany Susana and Martirio to create Locuras, another twist on the combination of copla and tango, which Martirio had previously shown to us in Flor de Piel. The presentations in Barcelona, Granada and Madrid are big hits with both critics and the general public. The show is recorded live and a record will be released towards the end of 2004. In the summer of this year they will tour a selection of cities both in and outside of Spain. 28th February she was awarded the Medalla de Oro de la Junta de Andalicia (The Golden Medal of the Andalusian County Council) an award given to those Andalusian who have excel in their work.
Future projects will include a journey to Cuba in May of 2004 to take part in the Feria del Disco de La Habana “Cubadisco”.