Y La Bamba

Court the Storm

There’s no denying the power of Luz Elena Mendoza’s voice; in English or Spanish, Y La Bamba’s tall and tatted frontwoman can both command a room and demand a closer listen. For Court the Storm, the band’s sophomore offering for Tender Loving Empire, Mendoza expertly leads the charge, guiding her multitalented mates (and, at one point, Neko Case) through a rich landscape of multilingual tales, culturally ingrained instrumentation, and a whole lot of powerful harmonies. (The awe-inspiring breakdown of “Idaho’s Genius” nicely articulates the latter.) Offerings here run the gamut from love ballads (“Ponce Pilato”) to Mexican folk stompers (“Viuda Encabronada”), all held together by the band’s uncanny ability to weave the traditional with the contemporary. If this isn’t the album that launches Y La Bamba into the limelight, well, I don’t know what will be. Y La Bamba plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) on Sunday, March 11, at 8 p.m. Visit for info.

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