Y La Bamba's 'Mujeres' Record Rebukes Misogyny And Fights For Women To Be Heard Y La Bamba's latest record, Mujeres, tackles misogyny and machismo. In the record, songwriter and vocalist Luz Elena Mendoza celebrates the women she writes for.
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Y La Bamba's 'Mujeres' Record Rebukes Misogyny And Fights For Women To Be Heard

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Y La Bamba's 'Mujeres' Record Rebukes Misogyny And Fights For Women To Be Heard

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Music Reviews

Y La Bamba's 'Mujeres' Record Rebukes Misogyny And Fights For Women To Be Heard

Y La Bamba's 'Mujeres' Record Rebukes Misogyny And Fights For Women To Be Heard

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Y La Bamba's latest record, Mujeres, tackles misogyny and machismo. In the record, songwriter and vocalist Luz Elena Mendoza celebrates the women she writes for.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Mujeres means women in Spanish, and it is women who take center stage on Y La Bamba's new record. Front woman Luz Mendoza says she wrote the album for her mother and for all women fighting to be heard. The result sounds like a celebration. Our reviewer, Miguel Perez, says it is also a passionate rebuke against misogyny.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MUJERES")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing in Spanish).

MIGUEL PEREZ, BYLINE: The title track on Y La Bamba's new record is laden with emotion. Roaring drumbeats lead this fierce chant.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MUJERES")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing in Spanish).

PEREZ: Let me through; I need to pass, Mendoza sings. This is my road, my body, my soul. Women, she sings, are like water - powerful and life-giving but taken for granted.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MUJERES")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing in Spanish).

PEREZ: "Mujeres" is Y La Bamba's first album with Mendoza acting as executive producer, and you can hear the difference. The band sounds more empowered, and the songs here move between genres brilliantly. There are bits of dream pop, folk, old-school rock. The band also uses field recordings to take songs to a whole new level. Listen for the songbirds on "Real Talk."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "REAL TALK")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing) All this nonsense has been hanging in my mind and my body knows what it's like to die (ph).

PEREZ: The song is a whisper compared to the boom of the title track, but it hits just as hard. And it's that wide range of energy between tracks that makes "Mujeres" so good at conveying the joy, the grief, the love and the pain behind the music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "REAL TALK")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing) Can you hear me? It's hard to say what I need to say.

PEREZ: Mendoza grew up listening to traditional Mexican folk styles. And you can hear it in the trill of acoustic guitars and layered percussion. But by far, the strongest link to that history is in Mendoza's singing. Raw, emotional, self-possessed - it evokes the melodrama of a mariachi ballad.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BOCA LLENA")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing in Spanish).

PEREZ: The song, which means full mouth, is captivating. But Mendoza's warm and earthy vocals mask a painful message. She says it's about her father and the emotional walls machismo creates between loved ones. A culture of toxic masculinity is still entrenched in a lot of Mexican culture. And that reality hangs heavy over Mendoza's words.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BOCA LLENA")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing in Spanish).

PEREZ: Why is your soul so far from mine, she asks. Mendoza's processing personal trauma here and tackling a particularly messy part of the Mexican-American experience.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BOCA LLENA")

Y LA BAMBA: (Vocalizing).

PEREZ: The album does a great job of letting the music document those highs and lows. "Mujeres" embraces, even celebrates, the pain that comes from untangling the good and the bad in your identity and savoring the power of seeing those bare threads unraveled before you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY DEATH")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing) Falalala, show me a reason, some reasons are the way to be found.

KELLY: Y La Bamba's new album is called "Mujeres." Our reviewer, Miguel Perez, is a producer for KERA in Dallas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY DEATH")

Y LA BAMBA: (Singing) There's so much going on.

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