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Frontwoman from Portland-based band, Y La Bamba, will kick off Walters Concert Series on Friday, Sept. 21.

COURTESY PHOTO: THE WALTERS CULTURAL ARTS CENTER  - Luz Elena Mendoza is the frontwoman for the Portland-based band Y La Bamba, and will have a bilingual performance on Saturday, Sept. 21. Southern Oregon-raised singer and songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza will be in downtown Hillsboro next weekend, kicking off a new season of one of Washington County's most celebrated concert series.

The Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center's 2018-2019 concert series launches Friday, Sept. 21 with a performance by Mendoza, the frontwoman for eclectic indie folk pop band Y La Bamba. The group, based in Portland, has toured nationally, performing in a combination of English and Spanish.

Mendoza will be at the Walters, 527 E. Main St. in downtown Hillsboro, in a bilingual performance Friday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Bridie Harrington, program supervisor at the Walters, said the cultural arts center is excited to bring Mendoza's sound to Hillsboro.

"We strive to bring diverse, innovative, exceptional artists to the Walters stage," she said. "This includes a rich variety of cultural influences, programming for all ages, beloved Northwest and nationally-touring artists, and emerging as well as Grammy Award winning performers."

The theater sits about 200 people, and tickets will cost $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

Born in San Francisco, Mendoza was raised in Medford. Oregon. In the past, Mendoza has said her songs help her address her identity as a first-generation Mexican American, and her experiences.

"I am thankful for all of my hardships," she wrote in the liner notes for Y La Bamba's 2016 album "Ojos Del Sol." "They have guided me to find rest in my soul, time after time. Over and over again."

The Portland Mercury has described Mendoza's sound as "haunting, yet calming bluegrass folk vocals (that) are rooted in Mexican tradition." 

Mendoza is one of more than a dozen performers planned at the theater this season, which includes performances by Skybound Blue, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Craig Carothers, Saeeda Wright, Seffarine and Painted Sky Northstar Dancers. Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini, will perform a special show benefiting the Hillsboro Arts & Culture Endowment in November.

Harrington said the downtown Hillsboro theater is special place for musicians to showcase their work.

"One thing I find really impressive about Hillsboro audiences is that they are always willing to take a risk and try something new," Harrington said. "Musicians tell us they feel a great deal of warmth and support here."

Want to check her out before the show? Mendoza's music can be found on Y La Bamba's website, YouTube and Spotify.

By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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