“It’s grown into this bigger idea of feeling like we really associate with the underdog,” says Alynda Lee Segarra on her website. "We really feel at home with a lot of worlds of people that don’t really seem to fit together, and we find a way to make them all hang out with our music. Whether it’s the queer community or some freight train-riding kids or some older guys who love classic country, a lot of folks feel like mainstream culture isn’t directed at them. We’re for those people.” The "we" in question is Hurray for the Riff Raff, an indie Americana folk music experience led by Segarra.
The 26-year-old Segarra is of Puerto Rican heritage, but cut her teeth on music and culture growing up in New York's Bronx. As a teen Segarra found her way to the Lower East Side's punk scene, taking in groups like the Riot Grrrls and falling smitten with the inclusiveness, creativity, and amazing music of these shows. At 17 Segarra left New York to experience America the way so many other folk and Americana heroes had done before her: hitching. She made her way out to the west coast and then gradually drifted back to New Orleans where she formed musical and cultural roots.
Two self-titled albums in 2008 and 2010 have paved the way for the band's recent release Small Town Heroes, which brings a passion, reverence, and political as well as social concern for New Orleans, the city that captured Segarra's heart and has been responsible for much of her musical soul. "The Body Electric," for example presents a feminist re-imagining of the traditional revenge/murder ballad.
Check out "Small Town Heroes" and be sure to check out all of the tunes on I AM THAT GIRL's Music Monday's playlist, updated each week!
Featured image via Sarah Danzinger