Nina Diaz and Y La Bamba‘s Luz Elena Mendoza have never played together, but after NPR Music paired them in the courtyard of St. David’s Episcopal Church for a late evening performance, we’re beginning to wonder why not. They’ve both played the Tiny Desk (Diaz twice, once with Girl In A Coma) and both navigate complex emotions and notions of identity in their music. Also, they just sing beautifully together, Mendoza’s yodel swirling in Diaz’s gritty croon.
Mendoza shares a brand-new song here, “Living Room.” When the two harmonize its confession — “I feel like I’ve been undressing all my thoughts in front of you” — it is, in tandem, starkly intimate and separate.
Nina Diaz’s “January 9th” comes from the excellent solo album she released last year, Beat Is Dead. It’s a bluesy ballad with a through line of ‘60s pop, a tribute to her late grandmother, cooed and howled into a warm Austin evening.
- Luz Elena Mendoza, “Living Room”
- Nina Diaz, “January 9th”
Producers: Bob Boilen, Mito Habe-Evans; Director/Videographer: Nickolai Hammar; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Photo: Aaron Rogosin for NPR; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann.
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