A native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, Lali Mejia started her musical training at an early age at the Colegio Bellas Artes in Maracaibo. As a 5th grader, she was taught how to read music and play the recorder, advancing into Cuatro studies and the school’s choir during early high school. At the age of 12 she began classical guitar lessons for several years before moving to the United States to pursue her BFA degree in Graphic Design.
Lali formally began her percussion studies under Jackeline Rago, Venezuelan instrumentalist and percussionist based in the Bay Area. She also furthered her studies traveling to Venezuela and taking specialized courses in Afro-Venezuelan percussion with master percussionist Alexander Livinalli and members from the Fundacion Biggott. Additionally, Lali studied the art of cajon flamenco in Barcelona, Spain, under Alberto Perez, flamenco singer and percussionist, with an interest in applying its technique to contemporary Latin American music.
Lali Mejia specializes primarily in the Afro-Venezuelan folklore as well as other Latin American/Caribbean styles of music. She has shared the stage with prominent musicians such as Marco Granados, Aquiles Baez, Roberto Koch, Jorge Glem, Jackeline Rago, Maria Volonté, Akira Tana and Francisco “Pacho” Flores.
Since 2004, Lali has helped facilitate many Afro-Venezuelan workshops around the United States and internationally. She is a guest instructor at the “Born to Drum” camp in Northern California as well as the Jazzschool, in Berkeley, CA.
Additionally, Lali has participated in numerous music festivals around the U.S, the Caribbean, China and Japan, and performed in venues such as the Tokyo Hakuyu Hall, Macau International Music Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Moab Music Festival, California World Music Fest, Venezuelan Sounds at the Smithsonian Institute and the Yerba Buena Gardens Music Festival.
Instrumentation: Afro-Venezuelan percussion (cumaco drum, campana drum, tambores de fulia, culo e’ puya, tambora de gaita, bumbac, maracas). Other percussion instruments (Afro-Peruvian cajon, flamenco cajon, congas, bongo, surdo, bombo legüero) and minor percussion instruments (guiro, charrasca, tamborim, etc).