MUSIC EDUCATION

Melena is not only a talented percussionist, but a graduate of UCLA with a B.A and M.A in Ethnomusicology. Her Masters thesis, "The Influence of Abakua Muisc in  Cuban Rumba", is largely based on ethnograpchic  fieldwork in Havana, Cuba during 2016 through 2018. She  studied with scholars such as: Serafin "Tato" Quinones, Ramon Torres Zayas, Lino Neira, Jose "Pepe" Reyes Fortun, Frank Oropesa, Juan Campos "Chan" Cardenas, Pedrito Minocal Simba, Angel Guerrero amongst others.  Melena graduated with honors June 15, 2018 and continues to be an advocate for the survival of African traditions in Cuba working closely with the community and members. 


    Melena offers Master Clases world-wide and has experience with all levels of musicianship, ages, as well as at risk youth and special needs children/ adults.  She offers both group and individual classes. She is avaialble for one day or one week residencies, as well as a full quarter/semester class.  



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obinI BATA; wOMEN OF THE DRUM

A FILM BY: DAMIAN CALVO

WON BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY AT EDMONTON FILM FESTIVAL (CANADA) AND WILMINGTON FILM FESTIVAL (NORTH CAROLINA).

OBINI BATA ARE THE FIRST ALL FEMALE BATA ENSEMBLE FOUNDED IN HAVANA, CUBA IN 1993 BY: EVA DESPAIGNE.

"This beautiful documentary features the talent of women pioneers who have paved the path for this present new generation of female bata players and the next geneeration to come. I greatly admire the talent and tenacity of these women who have inspired my growth as a percussionist and validate the presence of female talent today."  Melena 

DUKE UNIVERSITY - FALL 2019

Afro Cuban Music and Culture - One Week Residency

As a Cuban percussionist and ethnomusicologist, Melena will be providing student's Cuban Music history and performance studies for a one week residency. In addition to teaching congas, batas and shekere, Melena will expand on the African diaspora in Cuba and the socio-cultural influences of the Afro Cuban heritages, rhythms, and their impact on popular Cuban music.