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Two  “Happy Girls” – Renee Goust and Nancy Sanchez are brilliant together on “La Muchacha Alegre”

Those of you who follow my Hot Half Dozen column recommending new music every week saw the shoutout I gave to “La Muchacha Alegre”  (The Happy Girl) the new single by Renee Goust and Nancy Sanchez.  Since that time, streams of the song have been moving up – for which I take no credit, but am gratified to see.  Now that it is part of my daily playlist, I can’t resist a full review of what is one of the most enjoyable songs out there and which may become one of the more talked about songs of  2022.

The pairing of Renee Goust and Nancy Sanchez is brilliant and has produced a song that is clever, pointed and really, really fun.  Whether or not you like norteño or regional Mexican music, you will not be able to resist the absolute fun of this song.   Written by Goust (under her birth name Ilse Renee Herrera) it is an anthem – or more apt, a party song – extolling feminist values.  Sharp-eyed fans will notice that the song title is feminine (“la” not “el”) distinguishing it from the Pedro Infante song of the same name but different gender. And much different mood and message.

And there is no surprise at the message in  “La Muchacha Alegre”.  Goust is known for songs in Spanish and English about gender equality, migration and social justice. Born in Mexico, she grew up on the border and went to school in the US and college in Guadalajara, and later lived in New York where she graced stages at Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Museum and the Guggenheim , as well as touring the US ad Latin America.

Sanchez was also born in Mexico, raised and schooled in the US, where she became an award-winning jazz singer, a mariachi musician,  and a rising star in bilingual pop-rock, with performances at the FIMPRO music convention in Guadalajara, and appearances at the Hollywood Bowl, and  LA’s  Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, as well as touring with the Grammy winning Mariachi Flor de La Toloache.

Truly, Sanchez and Goust are  a match made in heaven – or at least in a heavenly recording studio, since neither  young women  are quite ready for heaven yet, although their music would definitely brighten the place up.   Surrounded by the tuba and accordion of norteño, the two women harmonize, shout the grito, and in general create glee as they spin out messages not often heard in the usually male-dominated norteño world, (with the exception of the 2014  “Era Diferente” by Los Tigres del Norte ).  Too much pure, unadulterated fun to miss. 

Patrick O’Heffernan

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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (350 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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