Hurray for the Riff Raff

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Hurray for the Riff Raff
Alynda Segarra, the band's frontperson, in 2016
Alynda Segarra, the band's frontperson, in 2016
Background information
OriginNew Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
GenresAmericana
Years active2007–present
Labels
MembersAlynda Segarra
Websitehurrayfortheriffraff.com

Hurray for the Riff Raff is an American band formed in New Orleans in 2007 by Alynda Segarra, a singer-songwriter from the Bronx, New York.

As Segarra's project, the group originally performed different styles of folk music while releasing several albums independently.

Background[edit]

Alynda Mariposa Segarra (formerly known as Alynda Lee) was raised by their aunt and uncle in the Bronx where they developed an early appreciation for doo-wop and Motown. They are of Puerto Rican heritage.[1]

Segarra became a regular attendee of hardcore punk shows at ABC No Rio when they were young.[2] They left their home in the Bronx at age 17, spending time crossing North America, hopping freight trains.[2]

Around 2007, Segarra became a part of the Dead Man Street Orchestra, a hobo band that was documented in a photo essay by Time magazine in 2007.[3] Segarra traveled with the group for two years, releasing two independent albums and embarking on freight train tours across the country.

Musical career[edit]

Hurray for the Riff Raff at Haldern Pop Festival 2017.

In 2008, Segarra self-released Hurray for the Riff Raff's first studio album, It Don't Mean I Don't Love You, followed by another self-released album, Young Blood Blues, in 2010. In February 2011, Hurray for the Riff Raff were featured in an article in The Times based around the HBO TV series Treme, with their track "Daniella" having been included in the show's selection of New Orleans' essential songs.[4]

On March 21, 2011, Hurray for the Riff Raff released their self-titled CD on Loose Music in Europe, composed of Segarra's favorite songs from the band's two previous records. Tracks from this indie-label debut release by the band received airplay on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6 Music.

In May 2012, Hurray for the Riff Raff released Look Out Mama on their own label, Born to Win Records, as well as on Loose Music in Europe. No Depression said it "sounds like something The Band would’ve had playing on a Victorola while making Music From Big Pink in Woodstock."[5] The album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at The Bomb Shelter Studios and produced by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes).[6] The record features the single "End of the Line".

My Dearest Darkest Neighbor was then released on July 1, 2013, through Mod Mobilian Records and This Is American Music. The album was previously available only as a Kickstarter reward and in limited local release and featured handmade covers.[7][8] Tracks on the record include songs by Townes Van Zandt, Billie Holiday, Gillian Welch, Leadbelly, John Lennon, Lucinda Williams, Joni Mitchell, Hank Williams, and George Harrison, and features Segarra's interpretation of Gillian Welch's "Ruination Day".

The Wall Street Journal describes Segarra's singing thus: "She has a subtle, expressive voice that she wraps around songs that draw on the sounds and styles of the American South, and her lyrics often take unconventional tack on traditional subjects."[9]

Spin previewed a video of the band's song "St. Roch Blues".[10]

In February 2014, Hurray for the Riff Raff had their ATO Records debut with Small Town Heroes.[11] The record featured “The Body Electric,” a song that NPR’s Ann Powers called “The Political Song of the Year” in 2014 and says the album "sweeps across eras and genres with grace and grit."

Describing Segarra's music, NPR says "Segarra's morning-after alto might be the least showy great voice to hit the national scene this year."[12]

In early July 2016, the band played the Danish festival of Roskilde to an enthusiastic audience.[13] In December 2016, they announced a new record, The Navigator, on Pitchfork with the first single from the album, "Rican Beach." The album was released on March 10, 2017, on ATO Records.[14]

In late 2018, Segarra joined organizers of the Newport Folk Festival to travel to Puerto Rico and deliver instruments to various public schools.[15] During that visit, Segarra played their first concert at La Respuesta in Santurce.[16]

In 2019, HftRR's "Pa'lante" won Best Music Video at the SXSW Film Festival Jury and Specials Awards.[17]

In 2021, Nonesuch Records announced Hurray for the Riff Raff's debut album on the label. Life on Earth was released on February 18, 2022. Its eleven new “nature punk” tracks on the theme of survival are "music for a world in flux—songs about thriving, not just surviving, while disaster is happening."[18] Leading up to its release, Stereogum made it their album of the week, noting that the album's "sonic backdrop is fluid yet unmistakable no matter what form it takes. Even at their most synthetic, these tracks come across as earthy and alive—an extension of their environment. Even at their smallest and quietest, they feel huge."[19] The album was met with critical acclaim upon its release.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Segarra lives in New Orleans, is non-binary,[21] and uses they/them pronouns.[22]

Discography[edit]

List of albums and EPs by Hurray for the Riff Raff
Year Title Label
2007 Crossing the Rubicon (EP) out of print
2008 It Don't Mean I Don't Love You self-released
2010 Young Blood Blues self-released
2011 Hurray for the Riff Raff Loose Music
2012 Live at 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
2012 Look Out Mama Born to Win Records / Loose Music
2013 My Dearest Darkest Neighbor Mod Mobilian Records/This Is American Music
2014 Small Town Heroes ATO Records
2017 The Navigator ATO Records
2022 Life on Earth Nonesuch Records
2024 The Past Is Still Alive Nonesuch Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ Swenson, John (February 1, 2014). "Radio Zeitgeist: Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Lee Segarra". OffBeat. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Keyes, J. Edward. "eMusic Selects Q&A: Hurray For the Riff Raff". eMusic. Archived from the original on March 15, 2010. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  3. ^ Heil, James (January 19, 2007). "Time Photo Essay: The Ballad of the Hobo". Time. Archived from the original on February 19, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  4. ^ "Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Times". Loose Music. February 1, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  5. ^ Gibson, Donald (April 16, 2012). "Hurray for the Riff Raff". No Depression.
  6. ^ Schlansky, Evan (April 23, 2012). "Hurray for the Riff Raff". American Songwriter.
  7. ^ Hurrayfortheriffraff. "Help Hurray for the Riff Raff Release Our New Album". Kickstarter. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  8. ^ Fensterstock, Alison (June 12, 2013). "A take on John Lennon's 'Jealous Guy' heralds Hurray for the Riff Raff's new cover CD, due July 1". Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  9. ^ Danton, Eric R. (November 26, 2013). "Hurray for the Riff Raff Streams 'I Know It's Wrong (But That's Alright)'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  10. ^ McGovern, Kyle (January 14, 2014). "Watch Hurray for the Riff Raff Honor New Orleans in 'St. Roch Blues' Video". Spin. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  11. ^ "ATO Welcomes Hurray for the Riff Raff". ATO Records. June 30, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  12. ^ Powers, Ann (January 23, 2014). "Hurray For The Riff Raff's New Political Folk". NPR. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  13. ^ "Slik husker vi Roskilde 2016". Dagsavisen.no. July 4, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  14. ^ "Watch Hurray for the Riff Raff's Video for New Song "Rican Beach"". Pitchfork. December 5, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "Hurray For the Riff Raff On Her Energizing Visit to Puerto Rico: Musicians 'Keep the Resistance Alive'". Billboard.
  16. ^ "Hurray for the Riff Raff Goes Home to Puerto Rico". Latino Rebels. December 4, 2018.
  17. ^ "Announcing the 2019 SXSW Film Festival Jury and Special Awards". SXSW. March 13, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  18. ^ "Hurray for the Riff Raff, aka Alynda Segarra, Makes Nonesuch Debut with 'Life On Earth,' February 18". NonesuchRecords. October 28, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  19. ^ "Album Of The Week: Hurray For The Riff Raff Life On Earth" by Chris DeVille. Stereogum. February 15, 2022. Accessed February 19, 2022.
  20. ^ LIFE ON EARTH by Hurray for the Riff Raff, retrieved September 7, 2022
  21. ^ Hodgkinson, Will. "Life on Earth by Hurray for the Riff Raff review — Segarra swaps Americana for the mainstream". The Times.
  22. ^ "hurray for the riff raff". Twitter.com. Retrieved July 16, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

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