Welcome to Pass the Aux, where KQED Arts & Culture brings you our favorite new tracks by Bay Area artists. Check out past entries and submit a song for future coverage here.
At just two minutes long, La Doña’s “Penas Con Pan” is a small but addicting dose of dembow and salsa. Its beat is perfect for the dance floor, and when La Doña unleashes her powerful voice in the crescendo—absolute chills.
The San Francisco artist has studied various Latin American musical traditions since starting out in her family band as a child, and this track is a perfect example of how she expertly builds upon her influences to create her own style with vision and intention. There’s an enigmatic aura to how she sings in English and Spanish about unrequited love, using it as a metaphor for survival.
La Doña wrote the lyrics about how “someone is withholding from the singer, but also how we make do with the scraps of what comes,” she told me before she hit the road to South By Southwest in Austin, where she’s performing at not one but six showcases this week.