Wednesday, April 5, 2017
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF - THE NAVIGATOR
Bronx-raised of Puerto Rican descent, Alynda Segarra made this one personal, a concept album about a street kid lost in America, trying to find her culture in all this mashed-up mess. It's presented as a two-act play, looking back and looking forward, and it has layers upon layers of interest, from the story she's trying to tell to the Puerto Rican musical elements she's incorporated to the literary/cultural references added. As rich as that makes the concept, it's simply a fantastic collection of songs.
Segarra has a tremendous alto voice (reminds me of Feist, am I alone in this?), and her vocals hold you throughout, full of drama as the songs unfold. She's still working in the folk idiom, but it's enhanced by the melting pot of influences Segarra has collected, as production techniques and a wide assortment of instruments are used across the album. There are piano ballads with power ("Pa'lante") and uptempo guitar pop tunes ("Life To Save"), before closing on a Puerto Rican percussive groove. Segarra is making a bold statement about culture and identity for sure, and it the fact it comes rapped in such dynamic music makes it that much more important.