It’s Wednesday evening and the sun has still not set as Erin Ansley begins a tumbling drum roll in a North Portland basement. A small crowd begins to gather, and Brian Carr and Bob Pounding join in on the keyboard and bass respectively, an instrumental lineup that will switch many times before the end of their set. This is Bodhi, a three-piece garage rock band.
When Y La Bamba emerged on the stage as a five-piece band opening for Loch Lomond at Mississippi Studios last month, it had been less than a year since the project was formed as a solo act by Luzelena Mendoza. Word has traveled fast about Mendoza’s music, though, and the momentum has taken her from being a humble open-mic hostess to a name frequently on the lips of Portland musicians and music fans. When you first hear the name Y La Bamba, you might think of the song “La Bamba,” be it Richie Valens’ original or the Los Lobos ’80s cover. The band name actually comes from Mendoza’s relationship to her cat, Bamba (who was actually named after the famous song).