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Grammy nominated vocalist, composer, and arranger Perla Batalla was born in Los Angeles, CA. Her father was a musician and record store owner. She first gained international attention as a backing singer for Leonard Cohen who later encouraged Perla to embark on a solo career. Perla released her self-titled debut on the Warner/Discovery label in 1994. The critics (which critics?) loved it, calling her singing "sublime" and her talent "stunning" (reference needed). Like many original artists today, Perla opted to go independent early on, releasing her second album, Mestiza in 1998 on her own Mechuda Music label. An immediate favorite on Public Radio shows throughout the U.S. Mestiza was selected as Best Independent Release of the Year by the editorial staff at Amazon.com. Heaven and Earth followed in 2000, along with a nod to Perla as Amazon's Emerging Artist of the Year. Mestiza and Heaven and Earth, both co-written with David Batteau, offer a vision of a resplendent culture born from the explosive marriage of separate worlds – a vibrant culture still nourished and inhabited by mysticism, imagery, magic and myth.
Perla's eagerly awaited follow-up album to the Mestiza song cycle is an innovative undertaking of contagious rhythm and pure joy. Recorded in 2002 as an homage to her parents' record shop of the same name, Discoteca Batalla is a compilation of new compositions interspersed with pristine treatments of traditional Spanish language classics arranged to reflect Perla's rich bi-cultural personal and musical heritage. Perla has taken the timeless songs heard growing up and molded their rhythmic and melodic forms to create a stunning cross-pollination of trend and tradition. Since its release, Discoteca Batalla has consistently appeared on "best of" lists throughout the country. In 2004 Perla was invited by The Kennedy Center to perform songs from the album as artist in residence.
Perla's 2005 tribute to Leonard Cohen entitled Bird on the Wire features a Who's Who list of celebrated and world class musicians, including David Hidalgo (of Los Lobos), Bill Gable, Vinnie Coliauta and Greg Leisz, to name a few. The album has been embraced with open arms by the Cohen loving public at large and critics alike. As Sing Out magazine's Michael Tearson wrote: "Beautifully conceived and executed, Bird on the Wire is a rewarding listening experience I find myself returning to frequently. It is every bit the equal of Jennifer Warnes' classic Cohen tribute album Famous Blue Raincoat (says who?). For those uninitiated to the glories of the songs of Leonard Cohen this is a wonderful introduction. For the rest of us it is simply heavenly". In celebration of its release, Perla produced a sold-out concert at UCLA's Royce Hall with special guests Michael Mc Donald, Jackson Browne, Bill Frisell, Don Was, Marta Gonzalez, Howard Tate, Javier Colis and Julie Christensen.
As a well-respected interpreter of Leonard Cohen's music, Batalla has found herself co-starring in Cohen inspired concert series throughout North America, Australia and Europe in venues as diverse as The Sydney Opera House, The Brighton Dome, and Spain's 12th century Lorcan castle, "Fortress of the Sun". In 2006, Perla's concert film appearances in Hal Wilner's I'm Your Man featured her in a cast that included Rufus and Martha Wainwright, The Handsome Family, Nick Cave, Beth Orton, Antony, Teddy and Linda Thompson and Jarvis Cocker. Spain's 2007 concert and film Acordes con Leonard Cohen had Perla sharing the stage in Barcelona with Jackson Browne, John Cale, Javier Colis, Ducende and Toti Soler.
2008 has brought more film work for Perla; this time on the other side of the camera as well, arranging and musical directing a comedic segment for Will Ferrell's Step Brothers. She is also back on the road (highlights include an impromptu performance with the legendary (?) Quincy Troupe at the Border Book Festival in New Mexico) and has again returned to the studio, currently completing post production on her 6th CD, What I Did on My Summer Vacation, by Perla Batalla and preparing for the first European release of Bird on the Wire, The songs of Leonard Cohen by the Spanish record label, Discmedi.
- Perla Batalla (1993)
- Mestiza (1999)
- Heaven and Earth (2000)
- Discoteca Batalla (2002)
- What I Did On My Summer Vacation, by Perla Batalla (2005)
- Bird On The Wire: The Songs Of Leonard Cohen (2005)
- World Festival of Sacred Music - the Americas, Los Angeles (2000)
- Selected Artists: World Festival of Sacred Music - Los Angeles (2002)
- The Napa Valley Opera House - Napa, CA (2003)
- Univ of Hawaii, Manoa, HI (2003)
- Prospect Park - Brooklyn, NY (2003)
- Philadelphia Museum of Art (2003)
- The Getty Center - L.A., CA (2003)
- The Knitting Factory - NYC (2004)
- Joe's Pub - NYC (2004)
- Satalla - NYC (2004)
- The Brighton Dome - Brighton England (2004)
- The Kennedy Center - Washington, D.C. (2004)
- UCLA, Royce Hall - Los Angeles (2004)
- Riverside Municipal Auditorium - (w/Los Lobos) (2004)
- Big Top Chautauqua - Bayfield Wisconsin (2004)
- The Hothouse - Chicago, Illinois (2004)
- The Sydney Opera House - Sydney Australia (2006)
- L.A. County Museum of Art (2006)
- Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man OST (2006)