This is a concept album of sorts about a street kid named Navita on a journey in search of herself.
It begins with a track entitled Entrance and ends, logically enough, with Finale.
It's no great surprise that the story told in between echoes band leader Alynda Segarra's own life experiences both in her native Puerto Rico and in the downtown punk scene of South Bronx.
This move from the frying pan into the fire has clearly led to a steep learning curve but Segarra is a tough cookie who has not only survived but is now positively flourishing. "Lost my mind but now I'm back again" she affirms on Nothing's Gonna Change That Girl
Her sixth album is her most assured yet, blending elements of protest songs with funky R'n'B and featuring Bomba drummers plus Doo Wop singers from New Jersey.
One highlight is the sublime Rican Beach; a tale for our times, ostensibly about the gentrification of the Bronx but with a broader anti-establishment thrust. Her targets include mouthy politicians and wall-building separatists and ends in defiant terms: "I'll keep fighting 'til the end"
A recurrent theme is the quest to reconnect with her multi-ethnic roots and to gain a greater understanding of her ancestors. In the title track she imagines herself as a super-heroine saving her people from a dystopian future.
"I've been a lonely girl but I'm ready for the world" she sings on Hungry Ghost evoking the image of a transformation from nobody's child to nobody's fool.
Segarra comes across as a sassy woman with a style all of her own on this fine album.
Her message is at its most fiery and direct on Pa'lante: "Do your best. Fuck the rest. Be something".
Sounds like good advice to me.
Hurray For The Riff Raff's website