Melena, born in Havana Cuba, has mastered the traditional rhythms that have traveled from Africa to Cuba, to the dance floors of America. Her Afro/Cuban sound is a conversation of melodies which she plays with fierce passion. Whether she is playing Congas, Timbales, Batas or a range of other percussion instruments. Melena is someone to be recognized as one of the most accomplished and proficient female percussionist in the music community.
Melena has been traveling the world and performed with legendary artists such as: Stevie Wonder, Barry White, Macy Gray, Chayanne, Julio Iglesias, Eva Ayllone, Chucho Valdes and Irakere and many others. Melena returned to her native country of Havana Cuba in 1997 and 2000, to study with Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba, as well as with many other gifted percussionists on the island. Melena has also studied with Roberto Vizcaino Guillott, Miguel “Anga” Diaz, Yaroldy Abreu, Jose Miguel Melendez, Adel Gonzalez, Mario Jauregui and Daniel Herrera. Melena has been blessed to share the same stage with her biggest inspiration, Giovanni Hidalgo!
In 2005, Melena performed with her Afro Cuban band at the Ninth Annual Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival in Texas. Melena, was the opening act for both Giovanni Hidalgo and Chuchito Valdes. During her visit in Texas, she also conducted a percussion clinic at the Brownsville University.
Melena has been FEATURED as a guest musician for several recordings and Live DVD/PBS specials for artists such as: John Tesh, David Longoria, Eva Ayllone, Peru Negro, Joel Holmes and Unwrapped Vol. 2 & 3 for Hidden Beach Records and many more.
Most recently, Melena was the featured percussionist on the Fox Television show, “Prison Break” playing congas and dancing alongside actor, Amaury Nolasco. Melena is also a featured percussionist with singer/songwriter Janel Parrish who plays Jade in the Bratz movie.
Festivals Melena has performed at include: Jazz at Drew, African Village Festival, Latin Music Festival, Puerto Rico Percussion Festival, Santa Barbara Carribean Festival, Montreal Drum Festival and more. Melena also conducts workshops and clinics nationally and internationally. She has specialized her studies in the Afro-Cuban tradition and on the Sacred Bata Drums and has taught her students the importance of the history and knowledge of Afro-Cuban drumming and the language of the Batas.
The following companies endorse Melena: DW, Sabian, Vic Firth, Remo, Hansenfutz, Beato, Rhythm Tech and Flawless Vodka.