Initially trained as a classical clarinetist, Jessica Ruiz has been playing world music for more than 15 years. Now based in Detroit, she was previously an active member of the Los Angeles klezmer and Balkan music communities, and has performed at bars and bar mitzvahs throughout the United States with bands including The Shpil, the Petrojvic Blasting Company, and Novi Maleshevski Zurli.
While on a fortuitous trip to Berovo, Macedonia, she was inspired to begin studying the zurla with Milo Destanovski. They have performed together at the Pece Atanasovski Festival in Prilep, Macedonia, as well as at San Francisco’s Kolo Festival, Chicago’s Spring Festival, Zlatne Uste’s Golden Festival in New York, and the East European Folklife Center’s East and West Coast workshops. In the summer of 2012, Jessica became the first woman ever to perform on zurla with Macedonia’s national folk ensemble, Tanec. Jessica lives in Detroit, Michigan.