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Biography

Fabiola Méndez is a Puerto Rican cuatro player, singer, Emmy-nominated composer, and educator. Her artistic vision and original music focus on the exploration of her culture, her ancestry, and her identities.

Native to Caguas, PR, Fabiola began playing the cuatro, Puerto Rico's national instrument, at the age of six.

She got her early music trainings at the Antonio Paoli School of Music in Caguas and her Bachelor's in Music from Berklee College of Music, where in 2018 she made history as the first graduate to play the Puerto Rican cuatro as principal instrument.

Fabiola's mission has always been to share and celebrate the cuatro, folk music, and collective story-telling. In doing so, she's had the honor of working with organizations such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, Celebrity Series of Boston, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Fred Rogers Productions, Rogue World Music, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, among many others. She has also collaborated with many local and international artists such as the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, Totó La Momposina, Pedro Capó, Andy Montañez, Danny Rivera, Chicago Philharmonic, and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.

Her list of recordings and featured albums include: the Banco Popular Special Eco (2008), Herencia Criolla (2009), Cuatro Sinfónico (2019), Al Otro Lado Del Charco (2019), Afrorriqueña (2021), Salsa: Sabor y Evolución (2023), and Flora Campesina (2024). In 2022, she produced her first documentary "Negrura", showcasing Afro-Latinx stories in topics around colorism and discrimination within our own communities. 

In recent years, she’s had the honor of receiving recognitions such as: the Quincy Jones Award, ambassador for the Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC, the Brother Thomas Fellowship 2021, the Whippoorwill Arts Fellowship 2022, and the ASCAP Foundation Lucille and Jack Yellen Award 2022. She was also nominated for a Children's and Family Emmy in the category of Outstanding Interactive Media (2023), and won the "Latin Artist of the Year 2023" by the Boston Music Awards. Her music is featured on the film Beautiful, FL (Disney+), on the tv shows Alma's Way, Work It Out Wombats (PBS Kids), and Mecha Builders (HBO Max), as well as indie films, jingles, and TV commercials.

Currently, Fabiola and her trio perform original music nationally and internationally. She is also faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College and a featured composer for Fred Rogers Productions and Pipeline Studios.

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