Mayimba Music is new Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival sponsor  

New York City-based Mayimba Music, a music publishing company with an international reach, has become the Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival’s first out-of-Oregon partner with a generous $ 2,000 contribution to support our work.

 Marti Cuevas, Mayimba Music’s President, became a fan of Jim Pepper’s the first time she heard him, and she has contributed the story of that encounter below.

marti cuevas  Marti Cuevas

 After spending 10 years as a working musician in Madrid, Spain, Marti Cuevas relocated to New York City in the 1980s with two small children in tow. Her dream was to play saxophone in the Big Apple, working part time to assuage the instability of a musical career. Marti landed a job with legendary music business attorney William Krasilovsky, and in 1991 was hired to administer J & N Records, where she worked while playing saxophone in the meringue scene. She founded Mayimba Music in 1999.

Marti Cuevas, on Jim Pepper:

“In the early 80s I was living in Madrid, Spain.   In those days we were total “bohemios.”  We didn’t give a shit about money, and all we did was practice all day, and go play at night.  Returning to the United States was a culture shock and a jolt to a sad reality.   I was a mom with two kids, and I was forced to explore ways to generate enough dough to pay the rent.   Showing up for my children pushed me into the music BUSINESS.

“My friend Barry Wedgle, a New York jazz guitarist and extraordinary composer, was part a member of our close-knit musical community in Madrid, and we were good buddies – we often played together.  So when the Joe Lovano Quartet, featuring Jim Pepper, came to town, Barry told me I had to go – I simply could not miss it.  Barry had been Jim Pepper’s roommate in NYC, and was a first hand witness to Jim’s huge, juicy tenor sound.  He told me that Jim filled the entire apartment building with music every day. (

“I was already a fan of Joe Lovano, but I had never heard of Jim Pepper.  However, as Jim blew his first note, I became an instant convert.   I thought I had never heard a more amazing, gorgeous tenor sound – ever.  And of course, apart from an exceptional, soulful, humungous tone, his approach to improvisation was not typical, overly academic  – it was totally personal and fresh.  For years after that performance, Jim’s playing was on my mind.

“As time passed and my life path became complex and intertwined with money-making enterprise, I forgot about Jim – until last year.  I had recently become totally fixated on Native American culture, and his name came up, stirring dormant memories.  So I started downloading all of Jim’s music, reluctantly admitting that the digital delivery of music has definitely brought us easy access to a super-wide spectrum of music;   some of Jim’s albums were instantly available.

“That was when I came across the Oregon ArtBeat videos (links below) where I heard the story of a person who had moved into a house in Portland, Oregon; and who subsequently – and mysteriously – fell in love with Native American culture.  After a time, this person – who I now know to be Sean Aaron Cruz, discovered he was living IN Jim Pepper’s house.  And since then, Sean has been on a mission to promote Jim’s musical legacy, keeping a promise he made to the artist’s mother, and to bring to the forefront the amazing Native American cultures in the Portland area that have been marginalized and ignored through the decades.

“Kudos to Jim – R.I.P. and kudos to Sean – may Jim’s music continue to inspire!”

Oregon ArtBeat: Jim Pepper, pt 1

Oregon ArtBeat: Jim Pepper, pt 2

Mayimba Music is an award-winning full-spectrum music company specializing in Spanish language styles. A music publisher since 1999, we also offer music licensing and publishing administration services for third party publishers and independent composers. In addition, we offer full administration services for record labels. We produce, release & distribute records, both physically & digitally.

Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival

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The Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival is a 1000 Nations Production.


About 1000nations

Sean Aaron Cruz is Executive Director of 1000 Nations and a co-founder of The Friends of Celilo Falls. He is the organizer of the Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival. He is co-author of Winona LaDuke's new book, "The Militarization of Indian Country." He is the father of four children who disappeared into Utah in a Mormon abduction in 1996, and the author of Oregon's landmark anti-kidnapping statute "Aaron's Law" (Senate Bill 1041), named for his late son Aaron Cruz. He writes online as Blogolitical Sean.
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