Born and brought up in the Chorrillos district. Together with Ricardo Pereira, her husband and manager, they have dedicated their lives to rescuing Afro-Peruvian music from being lost. In her long career she has won various awards, a highlight being the 2002 Grammy for Best Folk Album for her album Lamento Negro, which was recorded in 1986. She was Peruvian Minister of Culture from 28 July, 2011 to 10 December that same year. In 2022 she published her memoir, Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazón.