This Jazz Bridge Neighborhood Concert Series is sponsored by Jazz Bridge, a 501C3 nonprofit that assists local jazz and blues musicians in crisis.
The Cheltenham Neighborhood Concert series is partially supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
Venissa's artistry stems from the necessity to express the many influences that have nourished her spirit as a Cuban American. Born in Ithaca, New York, she hails from a long line of Cuban artists, including her grandfather, Jacobo Ros Capablanca, the well-known Cuban composer who instilled in her a life-long passion for music. Santi soon moved to Philadelphia, enrolled at the University of the Arts and became actively involved in Philadelphia's Latin community and music scene with AMLA, the Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos. It was from the support and encouragement of this community that inspired Venissa to embark on the first of four life-changing visits to Cuba, where she conducted research and studied Afro-Cuban song, dance and percussion.
In Cuba, Santi was mentored by Master Gregorio El Goyo Hernandez and Masters dancers from Yoruba Andabo, Arturo Clave y Guaganco, Afro-Cuba de Matanzas and Irosso Oba and reconnected with her relatives in Cuba. Soon Venissa began composing what she calls the soundtrack of her life's journey thus far" and in 2008 Venissa won the prestigious Pew Fellowship for Folk and Traditional Arts. A year later, she was signed to Sunnyside Records and released Bienvenida, which immediately climbed to #3 on radio show host and jazz expert Bob Parlocha's list of top ten recordings. In addition, she has been praised by Latin icon Ruben Blades and pianist Danilo Perez, who called her treatment of the classic tune, Como Fue, Audacious!"
Venissa is currently promoting her new recording at venues and festivals and is in the process of preparing new material for her highly anticipated follow up to Bienvenida. Perhaps it was Ruben Blades who put it best when he summed things up by saying, I think we are going to be hearing a lot from this young lady."