"…Dealing with such issues as race and loss of identity, Batalla has created a musical voyage well worth taking… ” —Newsday
Throughout the 1960s and 70s Discoteca Batalla was a well-known landmark in the Latino community in Venice, California. This mom-and-pop discoteca (Spanish for “record store”) was a haven for desperately homesick immigrants from all over Mexico and Latin America. It was a spot to gather, exchange news from home, buy the latest Spanish language pop exitos, or maybe just enjoy some sweet coffee and pan dulce with the proprietors, Barbara and Jorge Batalla. Jorge was a singer and radio DJ. He knew the lyrics to every traditional Spanish language song ever written. His wife Barbara hand wrote letters home for working men and women separated for years at a time from their families.
Perla Batalla is their daughter—a singer best known for her decade-long work with Leonard Cohen, as well as with such artists as Lou Reed, Sonny Rollins, k.d. lang, Rufus Wainwright, Jackson Browne and Laurie Anderson. While the record store closed its doors over 40 years ago, the experiences and stories are part of L.A.’s heritage. Supported by CAP UCLA, Discoteca Batalla is an homage to this important place and moment in time. It is a celebration of the people whose lives and identities shape the fabric of L.A. and inspire resilience.
Photo Credit: Guy Webster
Funds provided by the Ginny Mancini Endowment for Vocal Performance.