Venissa’s artistry stems from the necessity to express the many influences that have nourished her spirit as a Cuban American. She was born in Ithaca, New York and hails from a long line of Cuban artists. But it was her grandfather, Jacobo Ros Capablanca, a Cuban composer who instilled in her a life-long passion for music.
After completing high school, she moved to Philadelphia, where she enrolled at the University of the Arts, connected with her Cuban roots (via her grandfather’s compositions) and majored in Jazz Vocal Performance. She became actively involved in Philadelphia’s Latin community and music scene and began her career as a vocal instructor with the Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos, better known as AMLA. Over time she performed with a variety of Latin, jazz and world music groups. It was from the support and encouragement of this community that inspired Venissa to embark on the first of four life changing visits to Cuba, where she conducted research and studied Afro Cuban song, dance and percussion.