Y La Bamba Battles Machismo and Forges A New Narrative with 'Mujeres'
By Richard Gonzalez
With Mujeres, Luz Elena Mendoza returns with an album that showcases the barrier of misogyny that a lot of women in a "traditional" Mexican households experience growing up. But it dives much further into the question of where mujeres fit in the American story. In asking, Y La Bamba opens a dialogue showcasing that the answer to that question can depend on everything from geography to generation and how that creates a divide within the culture.
The album opens with "My Death," a very open-air track layered with harmonies perfectly distorted that create a unique element that essentially defines Y La Bamba's sound. Mendoza led production on the album and plays up the band’s strengths perfectly, adding effects that immediately immerse you in the record.
Mendoza describes each song on the album as part of a conversation. Throughout the intersections between songs, we hear ambient sounds of trains in the background and birds chirping before launching into the next track. On the hypnotic "Boca Llena," a song specifically addressed to Mendoza's father, she opens up about how a culture of misogyny can create a disconnect between a father and a daughter even if there is a lot of love.
Machismo plays a very pivotal role throughout the record and one that has a rightful place after what Mendoza describes as "one too many misogynistic experiences with men." It's not only a battle cry for women to be heard but an open-hearted message to men, specifically Latino men, to shed the machismo that has plagued the culture for generations and empower, respect, and celebrate Latina women, and one could say, peoples across the spectrum.
As a whole body of work, Mujeres gives us insight into where Mendoza is in her life after five albums under Y La Bamba. And that place is where she feels strongly enough to fight for what she believes in, to shed light on the Mexican-American experience while showcasing the beauty and style behind both influences musically.