After a 2.5 year hiatus, singer-guitarist Luz Elena Mendoza is reviving Y La Bamba. What started in Ashland, Oregon as a solo recording project became a full-fledged band in Portland, where the thriving community of artists and musicians inspired Luz to revel in collaboration. Blending her Mexican heritage with elements of American folk and rock, that six-member incarnation of the band produced two acclaimed studio albums and toured nationally with Neko Case and The Lumineers.
Amidst the din, she needed a breath. “I wanted to spend time alone and get perspective,” Luz says of the break. “I grew up in that band. That was me entering this world being super innocent, but now I have greater self-awareness as a Mexican-American female. I will continue to share my heart and path with everyone.” This strong sense of identity developed alongside periodic collaborations with singers Edna Vazquez and Lila Downs, each of whom infuse contemporary performance with Latin traditions. Luz also explored fresh realms of mariachi, cumbia, and pop with Calexico’s Sergio Mendoza — no relation, just synchronicity — on an album under the name Los Hijos De La Montan?a.
The renewed Y La Bamba is an expression of catharsis. Luz is writing and recording material with collaborators both new and old for the fourth Y La Bamba album, called Ojos Del Sol (Spanish for “Eyes of the Sun”). And each song on the album will pair with a stencil art piece hand-cut by Luz, giving the album a rich visual dimension. “Now the band is a celebration of family and community. Not just the music community, but everyone.”
Ojos Del Sol is slated to be released in March 2016 by Tender Loving Empire.
Next to the kickstarter campaign there will also be a return show August 28th with Kyle Craft.
The intimate show on the rooftop of Revolution Hall, the first of its kind, will feature an evolved Y La Bamba lineup, performing material past and present under the setting sun.