The Folk Collective: Women’s History Month
- The Folk Collective
Join us this Women’s History Month for an incredible event featuring cuatro player, singer, educator, and Emmy-nominated composer Fabiola Méndez with special guest Olivia Soler Espinosa and supporting act Gabriella Simpkins of The Folk Collective. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Fabiola’s music takes the listener on a journey through her identities and culture while celebrating the versatility of the cuatro puertorriqueño.
We Are Passim! To learn more about The Folk Collective, visit passim.org/folkcollective.
Fabiola Méndez is a Puerto Rican cuatro player, singer, educator, and Emmy-nominated composer that has taken part in a musical movement, crossing over the lines of genres such as folkloric, jazz & Latin. Her musicality and original compositions take the listener on a journey through her identities and culture, while celebrating and exploring the versatility of the cuatro puertorriqueño.
Recognized for being the first student to graduate from Berklee College of Music with the cuatro as principal instrument (2018), Fabiola performs nationally and internationally, and works as a composer for children’s show Alma’s Way (PBS Kids). She has received numerous awards, including the Quincy Jones Award, WBUR’s ARTery 25, the Brother Thomas Fellowship, Whippoorwill Arts Fellowship, ASCAP Lucille and Jack Yellen Award 2022, a Children’s and Family Emmy nomination for Outstanding Interactive Media in 2023, and being selected as the Latin Artist of the Year 2023 by the Boston Music Awards.
Olivia Soler Espinosa
Olivia Soler Espinosa, from Havana, Cuba, is Berklee’s first woman tres player. She arrived at the college in September of 2022, and in 2023, her skill with the traditional Cuban instrument, a relative of the guitar, earned her a Gifted Tuition Scholarship from the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation. Soler began playing guitar nearly a decade ago and picked up the tres a few years later. Now, at only 21 years old, she has been able to defy the odds and prove herself amongst the music and tres community.
- Indie Folk
Gabriella Simpkins is an award-winning singer-songwriter, composer, and musician hailing from Cape Cod, MA. Informed by her experiences across genres and performance settings, her music exists at the intersections of folk, classical, jazz, and indie rock. While simultaneously independently managing her career, Simpkins currently attends Salem State University in the BA Music program and focuses specifically on classical composition. She regularly performs her singer-songwriter material in and around Boston and hopes to establish herself as a freelance composer in the coming years.