Melena born in Havana, Cuba is an accomplished percussionist and educator of Afro Cuban music. Her Afro-Cuban sound is a conversation of melodies that she plays with fierce passion. Melena is a multi-talented percussionist who plays congas, timbales, bata drums, and shekere. She is an artist who exemplifies the sound of legendary players from the past, while combining the modern sounds of today. Melena is proud to be endorsed by LP, Remo, Sabian, and Vic Firth .
Melena studied ethnomusicology at UCLA, where she received her B.A. and M.A. degrees, graduating with honors. Her research was on “The Influence of Abakuá music in Cuban Rumba,” which focuses on how Abakuá music and the manner in which it has inspired the creation of new musical genres are frequently neglected. She conducts clinics, lectures and performances nationwide at Universities as well as special classes for all ages and levels. She also has experience with special needs children and at risk youth, having worked at Camp David Gonzalez and Barry J. Nirdof juvenile halls.
Melena fronts her own Afro Cuban Jazz and Salsa band performing nationwide. Her Afro Cuban sound is expressed from a five to six piece instrumental band with an enticing sound and multi-layers of rhythmic and melodic ideas. Her larger 8 to 10 piece Cuban Salsa band features original compostions that will keep you on the dance floor. Melena also performs as a special guest artist with the legendary Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro, having been the first woman to record and perform with them since their founding in 1927.
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