Luz Elena Mendoza’s voice is anything but childlike. Husky and expressive it’s her magnificent pipes which have been leading her heavy on the vocals band, Y La Bamba to widespread notoriety up there in the Northwest and beyond. Love and life are her themes and they’re performed with great intensity by this fine singer and poetess in a style somewhat reminiscent of the pastoral sound of the Fleet Foxes.
Sergio Mendoza, no relation to Luz, you know perhaps from his most recent gig here with his rousing Orkesta Mendoza on Nov. 6. Perhaps the hippest combo to ever come out of the Southwest, it’s a revivalist band playing Mexican mambo of the 50’s and 60’s. Giving the genre a distinct modern flavor by adding plenty of brass and steel guitar until their unique sound arrives at a form of contemporary, extremely danceable peppery Latin lounge pop.
Steve Berlin, producer and sax player for Los Lobos is responsible for the meeting of the minds and talents of these two great Latino musicians, guiding and setting up Luz’s soulful singing with the multi-instrumental mastery of Sergio. Call it more of a collision though when Los Hijos De La Montaña get seriously down to business. With great material, wonderfully played and sung and well produced on their self-titled 2015 album. The songs are in Spanish with the exception of «One Breath, One Soul» which allows for Luz’s passionate vocal fluidity and Sergio’s flammable instrumentalisation like heavy flamenco-like percussion, mariachi brass and wasn’t there a Robbie Krieger-like guitar in there somewhere also?
«Ay Si!» isn’t «I see» but you’ll see what we’re promising about the explosive and still very charming and elegant Los Hijos De La Montaña. Listening is believing, see? Ay si! Do you?