Mexilachian Music:

A blend of original & traditional music from Mexico, Appalachia, and the Atlantic Basin.

Presenting an unexpected, yet natural combination of rhythms inspired by the sounds of earth and nature, Lua will make you stomp your feet, sing along, and be transported into the musical spirit of Veracruz and the Appalachian region.

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Lua is a cultural pollinator, bridging together musical styles from different continents and different centuries. They write about contemporary themes, about families, and people and work and loss, but draw on the musical traditions of their own families' past.

The music is inspired by Mexican Son, Appalachian song forms, Jewish and Eastern European tonalities, baroque melodic ideas, and Scotch-Irish narrative storytelling approaches. They strive to create a repertoire that constitutes new traditional music that they will be able to pass down to their children to experience, transform, and pass on.

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I would never pass up an opportunity to hear Lua play. With tight rhythms, arrangements, and harmonies, Estela’s voice is singular and soaring, and Dave and the rest of the band never let the groove get off track.
— Ramona Martinez, Host WAMU's Bluegrass Country



"Mexilachian music is the sound track of my life" says singer songwriter Estela Knott, who grew up among the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in Luray, Virginia to a Mexican mother and a Scots-Irish father, singing and clogging the traditional music of the Shenandoah Valley, as well as performing traditional songs and dances taught to her by her mother from her native Chihuahua, Mexico. 

By the age of 10, she was performing a wide range of musical styles including Rancheros, Trios, Tejano, Country and Western, Old Time, Gospel, and Blues, in churches, festivals, private and corporate gigs, and recording jingles for radio and television ads. As a young adult traveling in Mexico, her greatest influences were families of the Son Jarocho tradition of Veracruz, Mexico — Los Campechanos of Santiago Tuxtla and Los Cojolites of Jaltipan, Veracruz. This Son tradition, mingled with the melodies of the mountain music of Virginia is what Mexilachian music is made of and is what influences her songwriting and sound.

Dave B


David Berzonsky is an accomplished double bassist, composer, and teacher. He has always written from a place of imagination and play, with an ear toward the evolution of Atlantic basin roots music. He has an affinity for playing with dancers, and creating subtle and cosmopolitan grooves and soundscapes.  Due to his love of travel, and ease with different cultures, he is able to see the rich commonalities of various musical styles from around the globe, stitching them together into new forms, songs and ideas.



Matty Metcalfe is a virtuoso accordionist and multi-instrumentalist whose musical range includes Irish, bluegrass, Klezmer, classical, jazz, pop, and zydeco styles. He is also in demand as a session and touring musician, musical director/arranger for theatrical productions, and pedagogue. The diversity of instruments and approaches that he brings to Lua illuminate each song and add color to the prismatic blend of tones in the sonic space the group creates.





Christen began playing guitar in middle school and later fell in love with American folk and mountain music, taking up mandolin and eventually fiddle and banjo to explore all the joyful and haunting sounds of old time string band music. For over 15 years now, he has enjoyed collaborating with David and Estela, slow-cooking the pan-American sounds that would become the Lua Project. Christen also enjoys teaching string instruments and helping others participate in the folk music tradition.

Artists in Residence


Zenen Zeferino Huervo

Zenen Zeferino Huervo is a jarana player, singer, composer, and poet from Veracruz, Mexico. Born in a family of traditional musicians, Mr. Zeferino Huervo has been one of the major figures in the field of son jarocho and is largely responsible for reviving the genre in contemporary performance and recording after it had almost disappeared during the 1960s and 1970.

Zeferino Huervo’s musical training comes from the environment in which he grew up. He learned how to sing from his mother and to play the jarana from his godfather. From an early age he ventured into poetic improvisation, which is a common art in the state of Veracruz. As such, he has developed a particular style of singing, playing, and improvising, which has made him one of the most important figures of traditional musical expression in Mexico.

Video recording by Natalie Roberts.


You just have to love the syncretic sounds of Lua, combining the best elements of Mexican and Appalachian music forms into their catalog of original songs. And they play with such joyfulness! Their music performances are wonderful to experience.

Many thanks to so many people who have helped along our path.

Thanks to Swinney Photography for the beautiful photo of southern Shenandoah Mountains.