The first-generation Mexican-American Luz Elena Mendoza says the foundation of her band Y La Bamba’s sound comes from a variety of traditional Mexican musical styles, but the lyrics come from her ever-evolving feminist sensibility.
“When I write, I have my childhood in me. The type of music that informed me as a Mexican American is like corridos, nortenos, grupero — music from el campo. A lot of the music I grew up listening to — which, they were not all men, but most of it. Carlos y Jose, Ramon Ayala,” Mendoza said. “A lot of that music is super misogynistic, but it was their way of knowing how to connect. So I grew up listening to that and I also grew up listening to Las Jilguerillas, which is women, and their resistance — musica bien bonita del campo.”
At their July 22 performance at Wicker Park Fest, Mendoza says she hopes to offer that same sense of musical familiarity to the audience.
“I do know that Chicago has a large Mexican population and the history behind it. And so I hope that we can have family together, you know, because that’s what it is,” Mendoza said. “When I’m in the moment and when I’m there, I just hope that I am creating safe spaces for people to come and feel like they can find themselves.”