Photo: Frank Schemmann

Ava Mendoza


Ava Mendoza was born 1983 in Miami, Florida and grew up in Orange County, California. The now Brooklyn-based experimental guitarist, vocalist and composer has received acclaim for her technique and visceral approach. Her most recent work is as bandleader of experimental rock band Unnatural Ways, and as a solo performer on guitar and voice.

Ava Mendoza originally studied classical guitar before becoming more interested in rock music, punk, and no wave – soon she was abusing electric guitars. “I played in rock bands – punk bands that had free sections and were into improvising,” she says. “I think that was part of how I learned to play on electric. Plus, I was always still studying Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, trying to figure out how they constructed their lines.”

Later Ava Mendoza settled in Oakland, California where she was a fixture within the local music scene. Along with former Flying Luttenbachers chief Weasel Walter, she helped shepherd Oakland’s free-improvisation and noise scene, as well as collaborated with Nels Cline, Henry Kaiser and Fred Frith. 

Mendoza has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with musicians including Carla Bozulich, Fred Frith, Mick Barr, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Mike Watt, Matana Roberts, Ikue Mori, Matt Mitchell, Adele Bertei, William Hooker, Jon Irabagon, and the Violent Femmes.

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