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Luzelena Mendoza’s songs draw from her strict Catholic upbringing as an only daughter of a Mexican immigrant and the vocal harmonies of the Latin music she grew up around. Extremely sick after returning from a spiritual quest in India, Luzelena took in a white six-toed cat to keep her company as she fought to regain her physical, emotional and spiritual health. She christened her new feline companion Bamba, a name that she incorporated into a moniker she used for a batch of lo-fi home recordings and performances at open mic nights. Mendoza quickly captivated the attention of a group of musicians, including current Y La Bamba members Michael Kitson (percussion), Eric Schrepel (accordion), and Ben Meyercord (bass).
With their new album, Court the Storm, Portland OR’s Y La Bamba return with a haunting second full-length of delicately crafted art folk. “The voice is most effective when it’s indistinguishable from the emotion of the lyric as well as the drama of the rhythm and chords” says NPR’s Felix Contreras when discussing Y La Bamba’s stunning front-woman, adding “…Luz Elena Mendoza stands very near the front of this pack.” On Court the Storm, these ethereal vocals combine with bittersweet melodies and thrumming Latin-inspired rhythms to form an indie pop masterpiece.
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