Venissa Santi is a singer, songwriter, arranger, and teaching artist trained in jazz and Afro Cuban styles. She was born to Cuban parents and raised in Ithaca, NY. She comes from a musical, artistic, and academic family, and was nurtured to follow her musical instincts to sing and become an artist. In 1997, she relocated to Philadelphia to study jazz at the University of the Arts, where she fell in love with the American songbook. A skilled composer and arranger, Santi began teaching in the barrio of North Philadelphia with AMLA (Asóciación de Músicos Latino Americanos). After connecting with Philadelphia world music scene, Santi traveled extensively in Cuba to study Afro Cuban sacred and secular music, as well as to research and rediscover her own roots. She subsequently developed the repertoire in her own signature Cuban jazz style and recorded Bienvenida, her first solo album, with Daoud Shaw at Radio Active Productions. Released by independent jazz label Sunnyside records in 2009, the album generated national radio play and garnered Santi a Pew Fellowship for Folk and Traditional Arts. In 2010, Danilo Perez, Panamanian jazz pianist and former curator of the Jazz UP Close series at the Kimmel Center, invited Santi to perform a tribute to Billie Holiday. As a long-time devotee of Lady Day, Santi worked very seriously to interpret the songs in her signature Afro Cuban jazz style. That repertoire was recorded on a second album, Big Stuff Afro Cuban Holiday, again with Daoud Shaw, and will be released summer 2013 on Sunnyside records. Santi and her band have performed all over Philadelphia and have toured the East and West coast and Hawaii.
Learn more and listen to Santi on her website www.venissasanti.com
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