Music has a way of being a reflection, albums showing the picture of their artist as they look into the mirror. The image of Alynda Segarra is that of The Navigator, told through her dreams on the recent release from Hurray for the Riff Raff. On the album, Alynda Segarra tells the story of ‘this girl who grows up in a city that’s like New York, who’s a street kid, like me when I was little, that has a special place in the history of her people’. The Navigator makes an “Entrance” as the opening album track, using the ambient sound of the underground as the click of subway tracks echoes through tunnels and concrete walls reverberate the voices of a street choir seeking salvation. The Navigator shows its lead character as a “Hungry Ghost”, haunted by a wanderlust, preyed upon by an eerie violin, and pushed by the demands of an unrelenting beat. Hurray for the Riff Raff quiet acoustics to a hum and sparkle under the daydreams of “Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl”, turn the rhythm wheel with rustic Country Blues for “Life to Save”, and meet “Halfway There” within the bare bones delivery of a Folk singer.
Guiding its passage by counting out a beat, The Navigator introduces a parade of urban dwellers over a Mink Deville-style groove with “Living in the City”. Alynda Segarra follows in the musical footsteps, and mutual Puerto Rican heritage, of fellow New York City native, Willie Deville, sharing history in the personal journey that brought both from the five boroughs down to New Orleans. The course of four album releases took Hurray for the Riff Raff from busking street corners in the French Quarter to bigger stages with its breakthrough album, Small Town Hero. The bright light of success clearly showed Alynda Segarra what was lacking in her life….’ the more I toured, ending up in the middle of nowhere bars from Texas to Tennessee. I just started feeling more and more like, I don’t belong here, I gotta get back to my people, you know?’ She returned in spirit to the Bronx as Hurray for the Riff Raff shift the Roots in their music to include Latin percussion and texture. The title track allows “The Navigator” to offer rescue from the street life in its story, as the tale majestically spills out on sweeping strings, Spanish guitar theatrics, and drumbeats that cross a cultural bridge from Cuba and Puerto Rico to Brazil. The Navigator comes ashore on “Rican Beach” as it relates an immigrant story that comes alive in political vitriol and a rhythm to strengthen the resolve of its people as Hurray for the Riff Raff climb up “Fourteen Floors” to walk down hallways thick with muted piano notes and hear the tale of a young girl searching for her future in the words of the past.