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Cristina Hernandez: Percussion-Driven Beats Reimagined

Cristina Hernandez Percussion-Driven Beats Reimagined
Photo Courtesy: Cristina Hernandez

Within the crazy world of electronic music, where countless DJs and producers shape their unique sounds, standing out isn’t just appreciated – it’s a magnetic force that pulls fans from all corners.

Thus, with every beat, rhythm, and melody narrative, each DJ becomes stamped with a personal identity that strings together the musical story from their own set of experiences and points of view. 

It is in this mix of personal expression and musical invention that something truly unique forms—a sonic brand unlike any other. History overflows with examples of such, from the unmistakable basslines of Daft Punk to the genre-defying constructions of Björk. Through such examples, it has become clear how a personal style within music can, indeed, define an artist’s career while further influencing the musical landscape at large. 

Enter Cristina Hernandez, a DJ and founder of Selva Beats MIA, whose contribution to the music scene goes beyond mere performance by showcasing her distinct sound and style.

Known professionally as Cristi Hernz, Cristina stands out in the saturated DJ scene with her distinctive sound—a compelling blend of electronic music driven by a strong foundation of percussion. 

Her approach to music production reflects not only an individual thread of creativity but also pays homage to the myriad of cultures that inspire her. Unlike many DJs who rely heavily on synthesized beats and digital effects, Cristina leans into the raw, organic textures of percussion instruments. 

Percussion-driven beats are the heartbeat of music, where drums, cymbals, and other rhythmic instruments play a prominent role. In music production, these beats establish the rhythm and energy, forming the backbone of lively and engaging soundscapes. 

This percussive essence can be found in a wide range of musical genres, from traditional folk music to contemporary pop, rock, hip-hop, and electronic dance music (EDM). Percussion-driven beats are characterized by their energy, groove, and ability to drive a song’s momentum, often serving as the backbone of the music’s rhythm section.

Cristina’s preference for these beats isn’t about aesthetics; it’s about tapping into the primal energy and universal language of rhythm to forge a deeper connection with her audience. The result is a sound that is innovative and deeply rooted in the rhythmic traditions of Latin, African, and Caribbean music.

In Cristina’s music, the sound of drumming and its likes represent more than just sound—it’s about exploring culture. Drumming tells stories, brings communities together, and preserves the heritage of different cultures.

Cristina has also relayed this in her company name, “Selva Beats MIA.” The Selva initiative organizes events and showcases and curates an online platform for DJs to share, collaborate, and grow their careers. 

Selva is a Spanish term that means jungle. In musical terms, it refers to a musical group, project, or event. It evokes themes of natural rhythms, organic sounds, and diverse influences akin to the rich diversity found in a jungle or forest, perfectly portraying Cristina’s percussion-based taste. 

Cristina’s journey into her unique sound was greatly influenced by a transformative experience she had in Costa Rica. “I was in Costa Rica when I felt the sounds I produced sounded complete,” she recalls. Surrounded by the country’s natural beauty and rhythmic ambiance, Cristina began with a single percussion instrument, gradually building her tracks one sound at a time through careful experimentation.

Cristina’s approach during a week-long trip over Thanksgiving break led to the creation of four tracks. This creative burst led to the release of her album Costa Vida in December. Displaying her creativity, she produced an additional track, “Winter Solstice Groove,” in just 36 minutes. 

This process highlights Cristina’s deep connection to percussion as the heartbeat of her music. She incorporates instruments such as congas, bongos, djembes, and steel drums into her tracks, infusing her music with a vibrant energy that commands attention.

Within a genre that can, at times, be formulaic, Cristina’s work brings pizzazz that is entirely its own. As she continues seeking new directions for music within electronic sound, her art reminds one of the powers that rhythm can carry and the possibilities when tradition meets technology.


Published by: Khy Talara

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