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Spotlight: Hurray For The Riff Raff

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On View - Apr 28, 2014 - Apr 28, 2014

Hurray For The Riff Raff is Alynda Lee Segarra, but in many ways it’s much more than that: it’s a young woman leaving her indelible stamp on the American folk tradition.  She first came to international attention in 2012 with Look Out Mama.  The album earned her raves from NPR and The New York Times to Mojo and Paste, along with a breakout performance at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.  Segarra grew up in the Bronx, where she developed an early appreciation for doo-wop and Motown from the neighborhood’s longtime residents.  It was downtown that she first felt like she found her people, traveling to the Lower East Side every Saturday for punk matinees at ABC No Rio.  The Lower East Side also introduced her to travelers, and their stories of life on the road inspired her to strike out on her own at 17, first hitching her way to the west coast, then roaming the south before ultimately settling in New Orleans.  Many of the songs on her new album, Small Town Heroes, reflect her special reverence for the city.  The scope of the album is much grander than just New Orleans, though, as Segarra mines the deep legacies and contemporizes the rich variety of musical forms of the American South for the age of Trayvon Martin and Wendy Davis.  She sings with resolute menace on “The Body Electric,” a feminist reimagining of the traditional murder ballad form that calls on everything from Stagger Lee to Walt Whitman.  She juxtaposes pure country pop with the dreams and nightmares that come with settling down with just one person in “I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright,)” while album opener “Blue Ridge Mountain” is an Appalachian nod to Maybelle Carter.  Please join us for the second installment of our new Americana music program series as we welcome Hurray For The Riff Raff to the Clive Davis Theater for a discussion, moderated by Vice President of The GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares Scott Goldman, and special musical performance.

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