Bululú is a dynamic Latin music band in the San Francisco Bay Area led by Venezuelan-born percussionist and composer, Lali Mejia. Bululú’s musicians represent the breadth of the Latin American diaspora and a wealth of experience in the diverse rhythms and harmonic blends that have emerged from the continent. African, Indigenous and European cultures come together in the music of Bululú, exploding in a celebration of life and spiritual energy. Our rhythms represent the resilience of musical traditions, carried on by generations of ancestors who struggled to maintain the historical chains that link us. In the Bay Area, our music plays an important healing role, reminding people of ancestral bonds, promoting a cultural unity that goes beyond politics. Dancing is a celebration of life!
“Bululú features a multi-talented team of San Francisco Bay Area artists from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds that bring a wealth of sensibilities and ‘sabor’ to the project.”—Lali Mejia.
Band Leader / Percussion, Vocals
A native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, Lali Mejia is a percussionist, composer and educator specialized in the Afro-Venezuelan folklore as well as Latin American and styles of music. During her career, she has shared the stage and toured with prominent musicians such as Marco Granados, Aquiles Baez, Jorge Glem and Akira Tana. Additionally, Lali has participated in numerous music festivals around the US, 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, Venezuelan Sounds at the Smithsonian Institute and SF Davies Symphony Hall. Since 2004, Lali has facilitated many Afro-Venezuelan workshops around the US and internationally.
Jose Roberto Hernández
Music Director / Guitar, Cuatro, Vocals
Jose Roberto Hernández is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, arranger, producer, music educator, ethnomusicologist and one of the most respected exponents of folkloric music of Latin America in the US today. He was born in the city of Cárdenas (Tabasco), Mexico, where his musical career began, and continued in the state of Oaxaca and Mexico City prior to relocating to the United States. His devotion, creativity and professionalism in the genre of traditional music have earned him the recognition of great musicians from Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Argentina. He has collaborated with renowned masters of Latin music such as Orestes Vilató, John Santos, Jesus Díaz and Bobi Céspedes, among others.
Peta Robles Izquierdo is one of the few, most accomplished female percussionists of Peru. She was born in Lima into the “Los Izquierdo” family of exceptional musicians and dancers where she began to play cajon and “zapatear” when she was a child. As a young adult, she became the National Champion of Female Percussionists in Peru and has traveled throughout Europe, North and South America as an ambassador of Afro-Peruvian music and dance. Peta is also an educator—a remarkably charismatic percussion and dance teacher for all ages and levels.
Ayla Davila, a Bay Area native of Guatemalan descent, is a highly seasoned instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and one of the busiest bass players in the Bay Area latin music scene. Ayla has been a founding member of bands such as La Mixta Criolla, Carne Cruda and plays for several latin bands among them Mario y Su Timbeko, LaTido and Jesus Diaz y su Qba. Ayla was also a founding member of Mexican roots ensemble “Los Cenzontles”.
Vocals, Hand Percussion
Lichi Fuentes is a singer, choral director and multi-instrumentalist born in San Fernando, Chile. The youngest of a musical family of 7 brothers and sisters, she came to the Bay Area in 1980. Currently, Lichi is the director of La Peña Community Chorus, a member of Bobi Céspedes Band and Bululú. She has played with prominent Afro Cuban bands such as Conjunto Céspedes, Jesus Díaz y su QBA, Grupo Raiz (Chile) and founder of the all-women ensemble Altazor. Lichi has also worked extensively as an educator of Latin American music.
Fernanda Bustamante, vocalist and violinist from Peru, has spent a lifetime performing. She started playing the violin when she was three years old and started singing when she was 10. She trained classically on the violin for 15 years before she entered the world of Latin music, rhythms, and improvisation. There, she discovered her love for traditional and folkloric music and dance. Today she performs with various musical groups around the Bay Area including Bululú, The KTO Project, Jose Roberto and Friends, and Vinic-Kay. She is also an Afro-Peruvian dancer and musician for De Rompe y Raja Cultural Association.
Norma was born in Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela. She is the 4th sibling of a family of 6 (among them, Jose Gregorio) and started singing folkloric music at an early age along with her brothers. By their teenage years the Kansau siblings had founded a church choir in Venezuela and had the opportunity of touring within the country and parts of Europe, earning a number of awards along the way. Norma has been a Bay Area artist for over 20 years, and has participated as a vocalist in musical projects from Perú, Venezuela and México. She brings a healthy dose of joy and enthusiasm to her performances, which are part of her stamp and sound.
Jose Gregorio Kansau
Jose Gregorio Kansau is a Venezuelan tenor with an ample trajectory in lyrical and popular music. For the past 25 years, he has earned numerous awards and recognitions as a vocalist as well as led his own touring ensemble in Mérida, Venezuela, called “Tango Quintet”. His talent, versatility and experience paved the way to various national and international appearances. In 1995, he was endowed with “La Voz Universitaria” a highly prestigious mention which propelled his career as one of the most notable and powerful vocalists in Venezuela. His passion as a singer lies in the areas of boleros, tangos, classical, jazz and blues.