Y La Bamba 5.10.23

Luz Elena Mendoza Ramos’ seventh record as Y La Bamba is what it sounds like when a musician’s skill attunes to the inner self they wish to express. In other words, Lucha is a fully realized artistic vision. It’s a rare combination of courage and craftsmanship–not just the courage to expose one’s soul to others, but to work outside of industry convention. Lucha does not sound like anything else because it is unique to Ramos and their individual experience and reveals the problem with codifying music and art with concepts like genre. We develop arbitrary expectations, and when a piece of art subverts those expectations we don’t always take the time to fully appreciate it. 

Lucha’s inimitable style is achieved through Ramos’ hand in every aspect of its creation–maybe most importantly, their work as the record’s producer. Woodwinds intermingle with congas and three-part vocal harmony; guitars sound both tropical and psychedelic among an outpouring of creative vocal modulations. As the record spins, arrangements morph imperceptibly like mist–the sound is at once clearly defined but impossible to grasp. It reveals its depth and complexity if you slow down and listen close, but it grooves hard when it wants to if you’d prefer to dance.

Lucha is an essential reminder that music is our most beautiful compulsion. As the tide rises with relentless swells of reasons to lose faith in humanity, Y La Bamba will squelch your inner misanthrope if you allow yourself to stop and appreciate the wonderful things humans create too.

Christal Angelique/Courtesy of the artist


Artist: Y La Bamba

Set List:
Mas Manos
Crema De Melon (unreleased)
Walk Along

Album: Lucha (Tender Loving/Empire Records)

Musicians: Luz Elena Mendoza Ramos – vocals; Margaret Wehr – loops, background vocals; Isabeale Waiau Walker – background vocals, shaker; Gordan Walters – bass; Julia Mendiolea – guitar; Antonio Montanez – drums

Credits: Producer: Deidre Gott; Confucius Jones Audio Engineer: Jake Perlman; Rene Chavez; Audio Mix: Rene Chavez; Cameras: Michael Minasi; Patricia Lim Edit: Patricia Lim  Host: Laurie Gallardo

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