Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Devastating New Single Honors the Ancestral History of Latinx Activism

Lead Photo: Photo by Sarrah Danziger. Courtesy of ATO Records
Photo by Sarrah Danziger. Courtesy of ATO Records
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On Hurray for the Riff Raff’s new single “Pa’lante,” there’s a sense that time must stop for things to get better, giving us a chance to figure out what to do. It’s a message that permeates Hurray For The Riff Raff’s work, and one that’s necessary for everyone whose identity is questioned, bought, sold, and undermined by the status quo.

“Pa’lante” is emotionally powerful, guaranteed to hit hard even for first-time listeners. A piano ballad that builds from introspection to a passionate fervor (with a slight detour to a Beatles-esque interlude), the lyrics suggest survival as an outsider is a facile endeavor.

The song samples the poem “Puerto Rican Obituary” by Pedro Pietri, a not-so-subtle nod to the Boricua liberation activists The Young Lords. Alynda Lee Segarra pays tribute to those who contributed to the Young Lords movement in the 60s and 70s, as well as her ancestors and fallen predecessors with an emotional intonation of the titular war cry.

“Pa’lante” comes from The Navigator, a concept album inspired by David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. On it, Segarra adopts an alter ego and delivers a tale of “a people displaced through exile, segregation and gentrification,” according to NPR. The album is now streaming on NPR’s website before its March 10 release.

Revisit our interview with Segarra on her new album here.