Upcoming Events in the Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology

Residency – Melena Francis


Melena, born in Havana, Cuba, is an accomplished percussionist and educator of Afro Cuban music. She studied ethnomusicology at UCLA, where she received her B.A. and M.A. degrees, graduating with honors. 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 studied privately with the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba as well as with the many gifted percussionists on the island such as: Miguel “Anga”Diaz, Yaroldy Abreu, Roberto Vizcaino Guillot, Cristobal Larrinanga, Mario Jauregui, Lazaro Ros, Regino Jimenez, and Daniel Herrera. 

Melena has toured, performed, and recorded with legendary artists such as: Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Macy Gray, Julio Iglesias, Giovanni Hidalgo, Chucho Valdes and Irakere, Francisco Aguabella, Bennie Maupin, Byron Miller, Will Calhoun, Ray De La Paz, Mario Ortiz, Jr., Chino Nuñez, Chayanne, Poncho Sanchez, Frankie Morales, Eva Ayllone, Peru Negro, Oscar Hernandez (Musical Director of Spanish Harlem Orchestra) and Afro Cuban All Stars. In Havana, Cuba she has been invited as a special guest to perform with Los Papines, Pablo Menendez and Mezcla, Raices Profundas, Canela, and Cuba’s national treasure the Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro.

Learn more about Melena

Monday, January 27 / 10 a.m. / MRH 2.608, Recital Studio

Melena will tentatively visit MUS 312C to perform and discuss her career, music, colonialism, and community.

Monday, January 27 / 1 p.m. / TBD

Melena will visit “Intro to Religion in Caribbean and Latin America”.

Tuesday, January 28 / 3 p.m. / 6.252

A presentation and videotaping of traditional abakuá instrument patterns.

Wednesday, January 29 / 4 p.m. / 6.222

A masterclass for Butler School of Music percussionists.

Thursday, January 30 / 6:30 p.m. / George Washington Carver Museum

At the Crossroads: The Music and Philosophy of African Religions in Cuba, Trinidad, and Texas. A lecture by Dr. Brent Crosson followed by a performance by Melena Francis.

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