Luz Mendoza dedicated Y La Bamba’s DC show at Songbyrd to her late abuelita in an Instagram post that read, “Your heart and love shines through our blood.” Known for an indie-folk sound heavily influenced by pride in her Mexican heritage, Y La Bamba’s performance highlighted the expanding diversity of Mendoza’s skills as a songwriter and performer; from a Latin dancehall groove on “Boca Llena” to shimmering dream pop on “Cuatro Crazy” to an emotional solo performance of “Ojos Del Sol” to a percussive, rousing vocal chant on “Mujeres.”
No doubt, Y La Bamba’s most recent work is a response to the times from the perspective of a proud Mexican-American woman. But these songs, performed with empathy, enthusiasm, and grit, were made not only for this particular national moment but as a response to a lifetime trauma at the hands of men and healing in the arms of women. Everyone who had the chance to be a part of the conversation at Y La Bamba’s show in DC left feeling empowered through love that Mendoza channels from her family out into the world.
Outcalls opened the show with a set that included a song “in French about sex” and another about the perfect murder weapon–an icicle–in a style that has earned them the label Baltimore’s “electronic opera queens.”