Perla Batalla follows a musical family tradition.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Vocalist Perla Batalla has experienced another type of liberation, by delving into the music on which she was weaned. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she grew up hearing classic Latin American songs. Her Mexican-born father was a vocalist and radio personality who owned and ran a popular record store called Discoteca Batalla, and she soaked up the sounds of Javier Solis, Lucha Reyes, Muddy Waters and John Coltrane.
“Everything I know about life and music, I learned at Discoteca Batalla,” says Batalla, who performs Thursday, Sept. 29 at CSU Monterey Bay’s World Theater with a quartet led by the fine jazz pianist Karen Hammack.
After studying at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute and pursuing a dual career as an actor and singer, Batalla eventually landed a gig singing backup vocals for the poet, songwriter and performer Leonard Cohen, which lasted five years. With his encouragement, she began to compose and arrange her own songs, while also performing with artists such as k.d. lang, the Gypsy Kings, Was (Not Was) and Iggy Pop.
Batalla released her first solo album in 1993, earning critical success. Her latest CD, What I Did on My Summer Vacation by Perla Batalla, was co-commissioned by the World Theater, and features classic tangos she discovered on her first trip to Argentina to meet her family from her mother’s side. “Of course I included a couple of Mexican treasures,” she says, “because I can never stray too far from the love of my life, Mexican culture.”
PERLA BATALLA PLAYS 7:30PM, THURSDAY, SEPT. 29, AT THE WORLD THEATER, CSU MONTEREY BAY, 100 CAMPUS CENTER. $25. 582-3000.