Bandleader and guitarist Pablo Menendez was born Paul Menendez, in California. His mother, Barbara Dane, was a blues and folk singer who defied the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba, and performed there in 1966, taking 14 year old Pablo with her. He stayed on to study at the Escuela Nacional de Arte for a year, and never left. Involved in the new Cuban music scene, in 1985 Menendez formed Mezcla, meaning "mixture", a seven-piece band that plays a high-spirited blend of Afro-Cuban jazz, rock, rumba and son. The other members are Octavio Rodriquez, percussion, Mayquel Gonzalez, trumpet, and Magela Herrera, flute, piano and vocals. They've toured Europe and the U.S., and released several albums, including Havana Blues Mambo (2005) and I'll See You in C.U.B.A. (2010).