Hailing from the rain-soaked, indie folk hub that is Portland, Ore., the members of Y La Bamba are pretty far from their Latin inspirations. But this pop outfit is centered around the powerful, otherworldly vocals of Luz Elena Mendoza, and some of her main influences came from a childhood in Mexico — accordions, mariachi and Latin rhythms. She brought together a group of like-minded folk musicians after showcasing her commanding style at local open mics. The sextet, named in part after Mendoza's cat Bamba, released its debut in 2010.
In February, Y La Bamba released its follow-up, the rich and multicultural Court The Storm. This 11-track collection draws on dazzling vocal harmonies, gutsy Latin beats and a range of pop and jazz influences. Y La Bamba's skillfully blended fusion of styles and ability to unite tradition and pop have been earning the young group some well-deserved buzz. Featured as this week's World Cafe: Next band, Y La Bamba is sure to be around for some time to come.