Jhair Sala is a world-class and in-demand percussionist who regularly performs with the Pedrito Martinez Group. Sala’s unique style represents a new-school approach to Afro-Peruvian and Afro-Cuban musical styles.
When the Peruvian-born Jhair Sala was barely three-years-old, he sat with his father beating on wooden boxes known as cajons. At that tender age, Sala’s inherent percussive talents were pushing through. His family moved to New Jersey when he was six, and his passion for percussion continued to grow.
Jhair Sala's first teacher was Lucho Gomez, who taught him proper finger, hand, and palm techniques for cajon and other percussion instruments. During his teens, he performed with his mother's band on The Mariela Valencia Show, which gave him an opportunity to travel all over the world and absorb a variety of cultures and musical traditions.
Once settled in the USA, Jhair Sala had the opportunity to study percussion with his idol, Pedrito Pablo Martinez. Under Martinez’s guidance, he absorbed Cuban music and gained fluency on congas, bongos, timbales, and Bata. Subsequent lessons with Roberto Chino Bolaños readied him for his first significant American appearance.
Performing with the group Kambalache Negro, Jhair Sala revealed a unique perspective on soloing and grooving. His career took off and he began performing with bands and artists that include: Desmond Child, Patience Dabany, Hector Tricoche, Andy Montañez, Pedrito Pablo Martinez, Justo Betancourt, Xiomara Laugart, Brenda K. Star, Osmany Paredes, Jimmy Bosch, Adalberto Santiago and Ismael Miranda, Nino Segarra, Raulin Rosendo, Paquito Guzman and many others.
Jhair Sala gained a reputation as a first-call accompanist. One of his first recording collaborations was with Mongo Santamaria's oldest daughter, Ileana, who produced the album I Know What I Want. Sala’s session credits also includes albums with Patience Dabany, Osmany Paredes, Edmar Castañeda, Mariela Valencia, Kambalache Negro,Ropa Vieja, Afrodita, Yerba Buena, and Ibboru, among others.
Jhair Sala is comfortable in all Latin genres, attributing his versatility to a close study of such masters as Pedrito Martinez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Little Johnny Rivero, Paoli Mejias, Karl Perazzo, Chino Bolanos, Mariela Valencia, Carlos Sala, Lucho Gomez, and Juanchi Vasquez.