Nelson Matthew Gonzalez
Bronx native Nelson Matthew Gonzalez was raised in a musical family. His grandfather, Benny Ayala, is a seasoned Plenero composer and folklorist. As a young child, Matthew was surrounded by Afro-Caribbean rhythms of Puerto Rican folkloric music. He began formally studying music at the Harbor Conservatory in East Harlem, New York at age eleven.
Since then, Matthew has become accomplished in playing conga, bongo and timbales. He is currently studying conga and bongo with George Delgado and Afro-Cuban folkloric drumming with Louis Bauzo. He has also demonstrated great ability at teaching younger students.
Matthew is equally gifted as a dancer and has been a member of Danza Fiesta for over ten years. He also has his own band, Cumbalaya, and has performed with many artists including Los Pleneros de la 21, Aurora Flores, Zon de Barrio, David Kada, La Salsera Sol, Hector Tricoche, Eugene Marlow and the Heritage Ensemble, Arturo O'Farrill, Chino Ramos and His Orchestra, and Jessica Rodriguez y La Malanga. He is currently playing percussion with six-time Grammy-nominated musician Bobby Sanabria and his Big Band.