Nicaraguan-born Yelba came into this world with a gift for harmonies and a joy of entertaining. She learned to play the guitar by watching her father strumming while he sang Nicaraguan folk tunes to his five children. The gifted family performed in Nicaragua whenever possible, and were invited to perform in Pittsburgh, PA for Roberto Clemente's Memorial Service in 1972. The children's angelic voices were accompanied only by three guitars, and later on by Yelba's mandolin (bandurria).
Yelba, at the age of 9 and 10, and her sister Thelma, then 12 and 13, were featured every week on Nicaraguan television for the "Junior P anthers" TV show. Yelba has traveled to and performed in many different countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Spain and Peru. She traveled to Peru last year to perform at the renowned JazzZone Club. While residing in Peru for three years, she performed with an all-girl band of talented local musicians, and performed throughout Peru music of South American and African descent. Her "globetrotting" allowed this versatile vocalist/guitar player to appreciate music from several different regions of the world, and because of this unique heritage, she brings music to us with a zest and gusto second to none.
Her Latin background fused with Afro-rhythms, yet at the same time Yelba blended this mixture with her love for Jazz, Country, and Rock.
Yelba is more than an ordinary musician. She graduated from Texas A & M University with a Bachelor of Science Degree, Cum Laude. While at Texas A & M she participated in the International Student's Talent Show Competition representing Bolivia and Nicaragua, and won second place two years in a row. She then went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance, where she also graduated with Honors as a Sord Scholar.
Recently she performed for the Variety Club of Houston with Jazz legend Hubert Laws and was featured performing live on the Fox Morning show with Mr. Laws. In addition, she has performed at the Houston International Festival, the Corpus Christi Texas Jazz Festival, the Cinco de Mayo Festival and many Super Bowl XXXVIII events.
Her voice has been described as "the voice of an angel", which is the tool she uses to bring an audience to tears while she performs her smooth jazz and beautiful Spanish ballads. Yet, with the blink of an eye, Yelba can break out in a steamy salsa, merengue, or cumbia, which will have the audience wildly dancing and whirling to the sounds of the exciting Latin rhythms she proudly brings home to each and every one of us.
Yelba is truly a joy to watch, and her band can "do it all" and "do it all very well".