Raised in North Carolina, New Orleans-based artist and composer Michelle Welchons seeks inspiration from a confluence of cultures and musical lineages. She began studying European classical music as a child, before transitioning into a vast exploration of West African and Latin American traditions. Deep reverence for nuances of global cultural expression has taken her across the world. Each region where she’s lived — including Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Spain, West Africa, Florida and California — adds layers and essence to her artistry.

A conceptual percussionist, Welchons invites a range of artistic disciplines into her work as composer and arranger. An openness and pervading curiosity has prompted collaborations with Cyrille Aimee, Gabrielle Cavassa, Weedie Braimah, Mahmoud Chouki, Andrea Ward, Handmade Moments, Mariama Ndure, Aboubacar Soumah, Eddie Fields, Danielle Ryce, Agbedidi Ensemble, and SHAE Movement African Arts, among other distinctive artists. Welchons has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Snug Harbor, and NOMA. She currently leads acclaimed instrumental ensemble Orchidea.