Reader Spotlight: Joaquina “Roqui” Lluma

Joaquina 'Roqui' LlumaMeet Joaquina “Roqui” Lluma, a multi-instrumentalist who currently resides in Denver, Colorado and calls music her day job, night job, weekend job and holiday job. One of our favorite lines in this interview feature: Joaquina says she uses “a TC Helicon distortion/distresser for my backing vocals sometimes when I’m feeling frisky.”


I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I started playing the piano at age five, but I quit by the time I was 12. I picked up my first bass when I turned 15, and have kept playing ever since. During that time I studied with Diego Neder until entering the National University (UNLP), where I stayed for three years, eventually moving to Brazil, where I played with many talented musicians.

In 2004, I moved to the U.S. where I studied with Jeff Novack. Later I entered Pasadena City College and earned an AA degree. While at PCC, I studied with Zac Matthews (bass), Bobby Rodriguez (trumpet) and Michael Stephans (drums), as well as many other talented working musicians.

For the last four years, I’ve been working on my alternative/heavy power trio Fire In The Asylum. In 2010, we relocated to Denver from Los Angeles. We play around 100 shows a year and tour all over the midwest.


Denver, CO USA

Day gig:

Survival. Keeping one eye on the banksters, while the other eye looks out for gigs. My music is my job. Day time and night time, weekends and holidays.

Years experience:

17 years

Bands & Gigs:

Fire In The Asylum. We formed four years ago in Los Angeles and recorded our first album, simply entitled Fire in the Asylum in L.A. and Pontiac, MI. Los Angeles is too fragmented to get any traction in the music scene, so we decided to move to Denver.


  • 4-string MusicMan Sterling
  • Mesa-Boogie Carbine M6 head
  • Ampeg 4×10 Cab
  • Ampeg 1×15 Cab
  • Planet Waves tuner
  • EHX bass big muff
  • EHX micro POG
  • EHX bass balls
  • I also use a TC Helicon distortion/distresser for my backing vocals sometimes when I’m feeling frisky.

Why I play the bass:

Since the age of 8 I’ve been an intense Sting/The Police fan. I eventually traded-in my piano for a bass. I thought, “everybody plays guitar, and there’s very few women playing bass.” Anyway, since the bass has 2 strings less than a guitar, I thought it should be easier, right?! BWhahahaha. But hey! I was 12!!! Seriously, it took me 3 more years to convince my dad that i was not gonna be changing instruments every year, and he wouldn’t have to buy me a different instrument each Christmas :)

My bass superpower/claim to fame

No superpowers here, I’m not Esperanza or Tal or Jaco. I have my own little tricks that amuse my audiences, as well as two kickass bandmates, Graham Mueller (drums) and Josh Phillips (guitar, lead vox). The three of us work as a unit as we burn down the conventional musical paradigms.

My influences

Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Pedro Aznar, Les Claypool, Javier Malosetti, Diego Arnedo, Esperanza Spalding, Tal Wilkenfeld… and the list goes on.

More on the web:

Want to be featured in an upcoming Reader Spotlight? Just fill out the interview questionnaire.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts

  1. Kato Mckay


  2. Christopher A. Rose

    Kick butt Roqui! Very cool. Love, Rosebag…

  3. Rhonda RToo Roberts

    Yeah Roq! This is awesome :)

  4. Kato Mckay

    Hey thanx! I found her on YouTube… thanx again

  5. Joaquina Lluma

    Thank you Corey!

    • Corey Brown

      Thank you for sharing your story with us Joaquina! Keep up the great work.

  6. Stephanie Shephard Stephans

    Very cool!