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Melvis Santa Estevez

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Grammy Nominee singer, arranger, composer, bandleader, actress, music and dance educator.

Born and raised in Habana, Cuba, Melvis came to multidisciplinary performance through her early years involvement with various cultural traditions. At age 7 she began studying classical piano. At 14, made a splash in the Cuban jazz scene by founding the all-female collective vocal group Sexto Sentido, deemed by Chucho Valdés “the best Cuban vocal quartet of the past 30 years.” Later she joined Roberto Carcassés`s seminal fusion band Interactivo, touring worldwide and collaborating with the who`s who on the music scene. In 2012 Melvis spread wings and recorded her Cubdisco nominated album ‘Santa Habana’ as a solo artist and composer. Her musical influences evoke greats like Merceditas Valdés, Rita Montaner, with a modern compositional approach, influenced by Marta Valdés. Also, jazz legends such as Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, and Dianne Reeves. The New York Times defines her style as possessing 70`s soul underpinnings, yet belonging to the Afro Cuban musical traditions.

Currently based in New York, Melvis continues to make a mark as a performer and educator. She has conducted master classes and music/dance workshops at NYU, CUNY GC, Tulane University, Boulder CU, and other institutions across the US. She also has showcased her 2 main projects: Ellas Son (all-female Latin music quintet), and Ashedi (Afro Cuban Jazz and Rumba) at Bridland, Minton`s Playhouse, Zinc Bar, The Jazz Gallery, The Bronx Museum, Lincoln Center Outdoors Festival. Her composition style blends Afro Cuban music with jazz elements.

Collaborations include Ravi Coltrane, Steve Coleman, David Virelles, Roman Diaz, Pedrito Martinez, Gilles Peterson & Havana Cultura, Bill O`Connell, Women Raga Massive, Maqueque, Emilio Santiago, Buena Vista Social Club, and Muñequitos de Matanzas.

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