Back to list
Artistic proposalby

Pellegrino Live Music


From 14 July 2020 to 31 August 2021
Fuensanta Méndez – vocals, double bass and compositions / Laura Polence – vocals / Marta Arpini – vocals / Isabel Mirallas – vocals / Sanne Rambags – vocals / Sun-Mi Hong – drums and percussion / Guy Salamon – drums / Alistair Payne – trumpet / José Soares – alto saxophone / Teis Semey – guitar / Young-Woo Lee – piano

Based in The Netherlands

For video links and photos:
Line up available also on quintet / trio / solo.

The singer, bassist and composer Fuensanta Méndez was born and raised in the water forest of Veracruz (Mexico) to an artistic family. She grew up surrounded by traditional Latin-American and contemporary European music, dance, theater and books. At thirteen she decided to be a singer and began studying and performing jazz, at fifteen she started writing poetry.

Méndez moved to the Netherlands to study at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, from which she graduated summa cum laude in 2019. She debuted her compositions during the Princess Christina Jazz Concours in 2016, achieving 1st place, the press prize and an invitation to perform with her quintet in North Sea Jazz 2017. Since then she has performed around Europe and Mexico as a solo artist, bandleader, and sidewoman in various situations related to improvised music. She was grantee of Jóvenes Creadores 2019 from FONCA, a national award for young composers in Mexico.

She independently produced and released “Ensamble Grande” during the quarantine in May 2020, a live album from a single performance introducing her poetry and compositions arranged for large ensemble.

The album oscillates between various constellations within the ensemble– which is conformed by different sections just like organs in an animal. These are ​voices:​ Marta Arpini [IT], Sanne Rambags [NL], Isa Mirallas [ES], Laura Polence [LV] and Fuensanta doubling as rhythm section on double bass; ​drum ensemble ​with Guy Salamon [IL] on the drumkit and

Sun-Mi Hong [KR] on the Korean drum and percussion; ​horns ​or breath instruments with Alistair Payne [UK] on trumpet and José Soares [PT] on alto saxophone (this again includes the voice of Fuensanta); and the ​harmonic ​appearances of Teis Semey [DK] on guitar and Youngwoo Lee [KR] on piano.

"These songs also represent my attempt of presenting a homage to the huge colourful beauty, amongst roughness and brutality, of growing up in Mexico. The solitude of childhood and the inherent surrealism to that place. In these pieces, the poetry and music share a flat hierarchy, they negotiate their complexity to intensify one another in a single expression. The compositions become accurate and alive when leaving a lot of space for improvisation, then they find their true form through the intuition of the brilliant and kindred minds of the ensemble, and not only their interpretation. The flexibility and richness of contemporary jazz, the rawness and freedom of avant-garde, and the lyrical and rhythmical aspects of folk music are very important influences for me; but it's not my intention to make fusion, more like appropriating them for refining a particular universe. Throughout the whole performance, poetry is the silver guiding principle; then intuition executes as we commit wholeheartedly to never betray the universe of each song."

Her first release, the live album "Ensamble Grande" is out from May 1st 2020.