Petrona Martinez is living proof that it can take a lifetime to become an overnight success. She..s also the embodiment of culture and history; one that has African roots and ancestry that penetrate deep into her Latin American home. That home is San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia, land of the slaves. A bus from there and then a journey along a path leads to her house, a place of perpetual feasting surrounded by chickens, donkeys, cats and dogs and children singing, dancing and playing flutes. Until recently, her source of income was gathering sand from the river to make bricks. It wasn..t until 2002, at age 63, that she was nominated for a Latin Grammy with the BONITO QUE CANTA album. Petrona Martinez inherited a strong singer..s tradition from Bullerengue, an Afro-Colombian dance rhythm born during the African fight for freedom from slavery and originally sung solely by pregnant women confined to their homes and thus unable to attend village dances. The melodies were passed down through the generations. She learned them from her grandmother and great-grandmother as they sang while doing daily tasks and attending Patron Saints Festivals. She is now passing them to her sons and daughters, some of whom are part of her eight-piece ensemble. Petrona..s performances are authentic, uninhibited and memorable. Whit her band pounding out rhythms and vocals venid her, she sings and alternates between dancing and sitting in a rocking chair. Her group incluyes daughters Joselina Llerena and Nilda Llerena. Appearing with them are percussionists Janer Amaris, Guillermo Valencia, Edwin Muñoz, Javier Ramirez and Stanley Montero. Her manager is Rafael Ramos.