XPN Fest Recap: Y La Bamba bring an explosive set of music from Mujeres on Saturday afternoon

Y La Bamba | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

Saturday afternoon, Y La Bamba brought an explosive set to the Marina Stage at Wiggins Park, consisting mostly of cuts from their recent album Mujeres. The Portland-based band, led by singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza, plays indie punk and experimental alt rock songs in Spanish and English with strong influences from the many genres of música Mexicana. Continue reading →


NON-COMM Recap: Y La Bamba call for honesty and empathy at the end of the night

Y La Bamba | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Y La Bamba brought their potent mix of indie-punk, música mexicana and raw emotional storytelling to the PRX stage to close out Tuesday night in inspiring fashion. Throughout the Portland band’s career, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza has channeled into their performances the energies of her Mexican-American heritage and her many frustrations with American culture. A mission statement by Mendoza on the band’s Facebook page declares, “BEING A CHICANA, MEXICAN AMERICAN HAS BEEN AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A STRENGTHENING JOURNEY. I AM LEARNING HOW TO CELEBRATE MY BEAUTY, HISTORY, BE AND HEAL FROM WITHIN IT.”

Mendoza, who is the daughter of immigrants from Michoacán, ripped furiously at the strings of her guitar as she sang and rapped in Spanish and English, railing against misogyny, patriarchy, and white ignorance. Her mission statement explains, “I WRITE IN SPANISH BECAUSE IT WANTS TO BE SUNG, I WRITE IN ENGLISH BECAUSE IT WANTS TO BE SAID.”

Y La Bamba were at their most intense last night when Mendoza rapped in unison with keyboardist Julia Mendiolea, including on their fiery opener, “Paloma Negra” — in English, “Black Pigeon.” This track served as a B-side for the title track from their 2019 album Mujeres, Mendoza’s meditation on womanhood and self-love. Continue reading →


XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Cuatro Crazy” by Y La Bamba

Photo by Steffannie Walk | Courtesy of the artist

Y La Bamba is the musical nom de plume of Luz Elena Mendoza. Menodza formed the group in 2006 in Portland, Oregon, and created an eclectic mix of folk, ethereal pop, and traditional Latin music. The daughter of immigrants from Michoacan, Mexico, she’s worked with an evolving cast of players on her records, however at the heart of Y La Bamba is Mendoza’s musical vision. Continue reading →


Y La Bamba explores growth and strength in new “Boca Llena” video

Y La Bamba | still from video

Portland singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza is getting ready to release the latest album from her project Y La Bamba, and just shared a new track and video. “Boca Llena” is the third single from the forthcoming record Mujeres, out February 8. Y La Bamba just announced an East Coast tour this spring which includes a show at Johnny Brenda’s on April 9.

If you’re not already familiar, “Boco Llena” marks the perfect introduction to Y La Bamba’s infectious, Latin-infused folk; the video matches the song’s intensity with bright flashes of color. Watch below. Continue reading →