La Timbera- Afro Cuban Percussionist
Born in Havana Cuba, Melena is an accomplished Afro CubanPercussionst and Music Educator onAfro Cuban Music. She performs traditional rhythms that have traveled from Africa to Cuba, to the dance floors of America! Melena is a multi talented percussionist who plays: Congas, Timbales, Bongos, Shekere, and the Sacred Bata Drums. She is an artsit who exemplifies the sounds of legendary players from the past to the modern sounds of today. Melena studied with the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional De Cuba as well as with the many notable Cuban percussionists, such as: Miguel "Anga" Diaz, Roberto Vizcaino Guillot, Yaroldy Abreu, Adel Gonzalez, Margarita Uguarte and Jose "Pepe" Espinosa. She studied Bata with Mario Jauregui, Regino Jimenez, Cristobal Larrinanga and Lazaro Galarraga.
Melena has performed with legendary artists such as; Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Julio Iglesias, Chayanne, Macy Gray, Byron Miller, Ndugu Chancler, Will Calhoun,Chucho Valdes & Irakere, Francisco Aguabella, Lazaro Galarraga, Bennie Maupin, Ray De La Paz, Chino Nunez, Peru Negro, Eva Ayllone, Poncho Sanchez, and Oscar Hernandez (Musical Director of Spanish Harlem Orchestra) and Cuba's national treausre Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pineiro. On television Melena was the featured percussionist on HBO's Loco Slam with Carlos Mencia, and was a featured guest artist on The Fernando Hidalgo Show in Miami.
Melena conducts Master Classes and Clinics world-wide such as: Montreal Drum Festival, Puerto Rico Music Conservatory, LAMA (Los Angeles Music Academy), USC, UCLA, Brownsville University, Remo Drum Center, Seattle World Rhythm Festival, Just Drums Percussion Day (with maser percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo). She also conducted a percussion clinic and performance at the Percussion Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico where she was backed by the island's top musicians to include Eric Figueroa, piano and Musical Director of Batacumbele.
This year 2016, Melena returned to her native homealnd Cuba having been invited as a speical guest for the Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pineior celebrating their 90 year Anniversary soon to be released album. The song, "La Timbera Mayor" was written for Melena, which feagured her on Congas making history to be the first female instrumentalist to ever record and perform with the Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pineiro since their founding in 1927. a was also invited to San Juan, Puerto Rico as a special guest for "Las Tres Potencias de La Salsa- Puerto Rico, Cuba and Colombia", being backed by one of Puerto Rico's premiere artist jerry Medina and his band.
Melena performs world-wide as an independent artist and also fronts her own Afro Cuban Jazz and Salsa band. Festivals she has performed at include: Bakersfield Jazz Festival, Santa Barbara Caribbean Festival, Fiesta Patronales, Richmond Latin Jazz & Salsa Festival, Brownsville Salsa Festival, Altadena Summer Concert, Manhattan Beach Summer Concert, LACMA, and more. Melena's High Energy Salsa Band is a favorite amongst fans for her high energy Dance Music, Fierce Percussion Playing, and Dance Choreography. Melena is someone to be recognized as one of the most accomplished female percussionists in the Latin Music Industry.