Alynda Segarra is the Hurray for the Riff Raff founder has been something of a modern Huck Finn, an itinerant traveler whose adventures prompt art that reminds us there are always other ways to live. Born in the Bronx and of Puerto Rican heritage, Segarra was raised there by a blue-collar aunt and uncle, as their father navigated Vietnam trauma and their mother neglected them to work for the likes of Rudy Giuliani. They were radicalized before they were a teenager, baptized in the anti-war movement and galvanized in New York’s punk haunts and queer spaces. At 17, Segarra split, becoming the kid in a communal squat before shuttling to California, where they began crisscrossing the country by hopping trains. They eventually found home—spiritual, emotional, physical—in New Orleans, forming a hobo band and realizing that music was not only a way to share what they’d learned and seen but to learn and see more. Hurray for the Riff Raff steadily rose from house shows to a major label, where Segarra became a pan-everything fixture of the modern folk movement. The Past Is Still Alive is a distinctly American record, built on twin pillars of peril and promise that have forever been foundational to this country.
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