Anya was formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1999. Percussionists Emilio Caruso and Eric Udell set out to bring wider recognition to Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian folkloric music through public performance, educational seminars, and music workshops. The group is committed to an authentic interpretation of these musical forms yet seeks an expression all its own.
Anya is innovative in its use of the drum kit as a core percussion instrument. Furthermore, three percussionists play multiple parts to interpret folkloric rhythms typically played by a greater number of percussionists. Finally, singers Kimberly Shelton, Debra Balbo, and Heidi Martin, blend Western Harmonic structures with traditional songs and rhythms.
Fe (Faith) is the group's first recording. Anya is named in honor of the orisha (spirit) of Cuba's sacred batá drums.