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Elena La Fulana is a Latin Grammy-nominated instrumentalist, bilingual Latin-folk singer-songwriter, and the lead for Elena & Los Fulanos. Originally from Managua, Nicaragua, Lacayo identifies as both American and Nicaraguan and her music, which ranges from twangy, heartbreak-themed folk Americana, to soothing, introspective, violin-infused Latin cumbia reflects this dual identity. Her dedication to art and activism was brought to light when she was selected to be in the Washington City Paper “The People Issue 2017” of notable Washingtonians.
A self-taught musician, Elena began writing music at the age of 16. In 2011 she formed Elena & Los Fulanos, a band that came together on the streets of DC’s rapidly changing neighborhoods of Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant, where working immigrant communities co-exist with young political and nonprofit leaders. That is where Elena was introduced to the District’s mariachi, son, and punk scenes which helped her find her sound.
In 2012 Elena quit her job in immigration policy to pursue music. Since then, with Elena & Los Fulanos, she released two albums that blend traditional folkloric sounds from Nicaragua and Latin America along with American folk and indie rock to explore the search for artistic meaning, love, and unity, in a city better known for its politics: Miel Venenosa (2014), which was nominated for a Washington Area Music Association (WAMMIE) award for “Best Latin Recording,” and Volcán (2017), which was hailed as “a bilingual folk album for the resistance” by the Washington City Paper. The band’s video for the song, “Ponle Fin” (featuring Christylez Bacon) was called “a fist-raising call to stand up to racists, homophobia, immigrant bashing and all manner of intolerance” by NPR’s Alt. Latino.
With her band and as a solo artist, Elena has played national renown venues such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Library of Congress, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Hamilton, Lincoln Theatre and has toured regionally and internationally. Most recently, she began touring with the Latin-Grammy winning all-female mariachi group, Flor de Toloache with whom she has performed at the Kennedy Center Awards and the Latin Grammys.
“The music of Elena & Los Fulanos reflects living in two worlds that graze each other, but never quite collide.”
-Julyssa López, Washignton City Paper
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Elena Lacayo (vocals, guitar, banjo) grew up in Managua, Nicaragua. She moved to the US to attend college in Indiana in 2002 and moved to Washington, DC to pursue a career in advocacy upon graduation. After building a career centered on the passage of just national and state immigration laws, she transitioned to focus on music in 2012 and has been loving life ever since. | Elena Lacayo (voz, guitarra, banjo) se crió en Managua, Nicaragua. Se mudo a los Estados Unidos para ir a la universidad en 2002 y después de graduarse se mudo a Washington, DC para trabajar en temas de justicia social. Después de pasar varios anos ayudando a pasar leyes pro-inmigrantes a nivel nacional y estatal, cambio su enfoque para dedicarse plenamente a la música.