In 1999, Los Mas Valientes musical director Jessica Valiente was approached by a music festival which required all-female bands only. She wondered, “What would happen if we just left the men at home?” The result was an explosion of female talent that was different from anything that had ever been seen in Latin music before or since. Their extraordinary sound comes from the combination of their diverse musical backgrounds; all of these women are well-established in the standard realm of Latin jazz, but they also bring their individual and collective experiences in American jazz, classical music, salsa and merengue; Dominican, Puerto Rican and Cuban folk music; samba, reggae, rock, and other musical traditions from around the world. Their unique experience allows them to venture into musical territories never tread by other Latin jazz and Latin dance groups, bringing wide-ranging global and modern influences to their repertoire and compositions. The group chose a name to inaugurate themselves as something new: Anaïsa.
Anaïsa features seven of the most respected women in Latin jazz today. They bring their talents to women's organizations, music festivals, and women-centered events all over the United States. Anaïsa has performed at The Martha's Vineyard Jazz and Blues Summerfest, Steel Stacks, Lower East Side Girls Club, the Lady Got Chops Women in Jazz Festival, the Women Take the Bandstand series, Women's Work at The Brecht Forum, Trumpets Jazz Club, and more. Wherever they go, audiences and critics alike respond with tremendous excitement, and requests for repeat performances are par for the course.
In Afro-Dominican folklore, Anaïsa is the name one of the most powerful and revered deities. The goddess of love, compassion and goodwill, she finds her greatest expression through music. The exciting band that takes her name has put together some of the finest women musicians playing in Latin jazz today. Anaïsa is now making the rounds of women’s events nationally and worldwide.