Gringa is a five-piece Worldbeat band based in San Francisco, CA that weaves infectious rhythms from Brazil and the Americas through catchy hooks, tasty harmonies, and sassy songwriting, creating a unique sound that uplifts and inspires listeners while dissolving cultural barriers and transcending the status quo.
Gringa excites audiences with their own brand of playful and thought-provoking original songs in English and Portuguese, as well as unique, genre-bending covers of a range of classics. By mixing Brazilian (samba, forró, maracatu), Latin, funk, rock, and reggae grooves, with elements of jazz, pop, and hip hop, scorching sax solos, and tight arrangements, Gringa has developed an all-inclusive party-in-a-box live show that seduces listeners into a tropical vacation on the dancefloor.
The name Gringa is a pie in the face of US exceptionalism and imperialism, an antithesis to xenophobia, and the band’s female-dominated lineup is a direct challenge to patriarchal norms and stereotypes. While many lyrics contain tongue-in-cheek humor, others address serious themes of love, loss, and social and eco justice. Gringa aims to be an artivist refuge of fun, inclusiveness and internationalism, whose music connects with people, and connects people together, dismantling bigotry one beat at a time.
Gringa supports their values by participating in counterculture and fundraising events, including past collaborations with Rock the Bike, Coletivo Desbordar, Women’s Audio Mission, Rivers International, Breast Cancer Action, and has played many noteworthy venues in the Bay Area such as The Chapel and Ashkenaz, as well as one of the main stages at Carnaval SF 2015. They’ve self-released two commercial singles, “I’ma Build a Home” and “A Bicicleta”, and are currently working on their upcoming EP, “Letters from A. Broad”, to be released Summer 2017.
Maya is an audio engineer, producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in San Francisco. Growing up she studied jazz and pop piano, classic rock guitar, and was inspired to learn sound engineering due to a love of hip hop. Her world greatly expanded when she discovered the music of Brazil, where she studied guitar and percussion for two years. Her unique, bilingual songs reflect these influences by marrying infectious Latin grooves with memorable melodies and clever lyrics. In addition to writing and performing, Maya does live audio mixing full-time at various venues, has recorded and mixed for local Latin groups La Gente and Sang Matiz, and is currently recording and producing the first Gringa EP. She has played guitar, cavaco, keys/synth, and percussion with several Brazilian/Latin bands in the Bay Area, including SambAsia, BrazilVox, TropiCali and Sang Matiz. www.my-fy.com
Kate Pittard - Alto Sax, Percussion, Voice, Songwriting
Kate Pittard has been a professional saxophonist, singer and songwriter for over 15 years. She also currently plays with Afrolicious, Kelly Park Big Band, Antonio Guedes and My Blue Soul. She finds herself in the deep grooves of funk as well as the screaming pitches of Brazilian frevo. Her obsession with Brazilian music has driven her study of percussion, most notably the zabumba. As a lifelong student, she also plays flute, pifano, guitar and various percussion and she writes songs both in English and Portuguese. www.katepittard.com
Diana Di Battista - Percussion, Voice
Diana has studied Brazilian music for over 10 years and is a singer and percussionist specializing in the pandeiro. Her travels and talent for languages led her to study various forms of Brazilian music and dance, and her heart is particularly pulled toward music from the Brazilian Northeast, including the forró pé-de-serra tradition. She has also had the privilege of taking classes from several accomplished Brazilian pandeiro players and vocalists. Diana has performed with various Bay Area artistic groups including Capoeira Sul da Bahia, Forró Brazuca, Maracatu Pacifico, and Gold Band. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian, Diana spends an inordinate amount of her free time researching and finding inspiration in the rich music history of Latin America and the African Diaspora.
Luna Fuentes-Vaccaro - Drums, Percussion
Born in LA and raised in Valparaiso, Chile, has a musical background that is especially unique. She is a passionate musician, a student and performer of music since a young age, playing guitar for over 15 years and drums for over a decade. As a student of music in Chile, attended the Valparaiso Samba School, and studied Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar, Drums and Percussion under a variety of private instructors, learning techniques, theory, and advanced chart reading. An avid performer, has played across the United States with indie rock band Mount Saint Elias as well as various Samba ensembles. She recently recorded drums on a full-length album with the band Clouds Rest, in addition to recording 2 EPs with Mount Saint Elias in 2015.
Jenelle Roccaforte - Bass
Jenelle Roccaforte is an upright and electric bassist, guitarist, composer, and educator who frequently performs in the San Francisco Bay Area. She grew up listening to the jazz bands at her family's restaurant and jazz club, Colombo's in Los Angeles, which left a deep impression on her love of music and improvisation. Jenelle studied at the California Jazz Conservatory and has a well versed background in jazz, funk, pop, soul, and Latin music. She is constantly challenging and expanding her musical appetite and enjoys pushing boundaries in her compositions and interactions with fellow band mates. Jenelle's bass playing is a solid foundation with deep groove, and she has a unique voice as a soloist.