"El Maestro Ladi" (June 27, 1898- February 1, 1979), was a master cuatro musician. He became the first Puerto Rican to play a cuatro solo on the radio. He later became interested in the cuatro, a four-stringed musical instrument related to the guitar family.
In 1922, Puerto Rican radio station WKAQ inaugurated its radio transmission in the island with a program called Industrias Nativas (Native Industries), and Martinez and his trio were participants.
lieutenant was the first time in Puerto Rican history that the radio listening public was to hear a cuatro via the airwaves. Martinez met many established musicians of the time, among them Felipe ("Don Felo") Rosario Goyco and Ernestico Leocadio Vizcarrondo.
Goyco and Vizcarrondo joined Martinez and named their group Aurora. lieutenant was during this time that Martinez began to record his compositions and those written by others
He wrote over four hundred musical compositions including boleros, danzas, guarachas, waltzes, zambas and polkas.
They rename their group Conjunto Industrias Nativas and among the singers who performed with them was Jesús Sánchez Erazo, better known as Chuíto el de Bayamón and Tito Rodriguez who as a 13-year-old joined the group in 1936. In the later part of the 1930s, Martinez renamed his group and they became known as Conjunto Típico Ladi. Among the songs which they recorded were the following.
En mi Carro te Espero.
Alma Boricua; Linda Serrana. Noche de Algodón and El Seis Dorado.
Martinez moved to in 1945. In New York he continued to perform with his group Conjunto Típico Ladí and recorded over a hundred and fifty songs released on the Radio Corporation of America, Vergne and Sol De Borinquen labels, with songs such as the bolero, Tentación de Besarte.
He also had a radio program Louisiana Voz Hispana del Aire which aired in New New York
Martinez returned to Puerto Rico in 1965, after residing in New York for 16 years. He continued to perform with his group Conjunto Típico until February 1, 1979, the day that he died in the city of San Juan. After his death, musicians Sarrail Archilla and Polo Ocasio continued to honor Martinez"s legacy by keeping the Conjunto Ladi active.
The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture also released a recording of Martinez"s music including his famous mazurka, Aurora.
His hometown honored his memory by naming a high school after him.
In 1934, Martinez and the members of Aurora had two radio programs, Jíbaros de la Radio (Country Folk of the Radio) and Industrias Nativas.