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To declare one thematic narrative from Lucha, Y La Bamba’s seventh album, would be to chisel away a story within a story into the illusion of something singular.
“Lucha is a symbol of how hard it is for me to tackle healing, live life, and be present,” Luz Elena Mendoza Ramos, lead vocalist and producer of Y La Bamba, says of the title behind the album, which translates from Spanish to English as ‘fight’ and is also a nickname for Luz, which means light. The album explores multiplicity—love, queerness, Mexican American and Chicanx identity, family, intimacy, yearning, and loneliness — and chronicles a period of struggle and growth for Mendoza Ramos as a person and artist.
Lucha was born out of isolation at the advent of COVID-19 lockdowns, beginning with a cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and following Mendoza Ramos as she moved from Portland, Oregon, to Mexico City, returning to her parents’ home country while revisiting a lineage marred by violence and silence, and simultaneously reaching towards deeper relationships with loved ones and herself. The album reflects “another tier of facing vulnerability,” as Mendoza Ramos explains, and is a battle cry to fight to be seen and to be accepted, if not celebrated, in every form — anger and compassion, externally and internally, individually and societally. As much as la Lucha is about inner work, fighting is borne from survival stemming from social structures designed to uplift dominant groups at the hands of suffering among the marginalized.