Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen were Leonard Cohen’s backup singers of the tours in 1988 and 1993, and also worked with Cohen during the recording sessions in studio.

The Los Angeles-born singer-songwriter Perla Batalla was immersed in the musical world from birth; her father, a Mexican singer and disc jockey, her mother, the proprietor of a bustling Spanish language music store. She started her solo career in 1993, after working with artists ranging from Leonard Cohen and k.d. lang to the Gipsy Kings and Jennifer Warnes. These diverse influences are evident in the music she writes, arranges and performs today. Her repertoire cuts across genre and language, combining traditional Mexican folk melodies, powerful ballads and pulsing rhythms, the result being stylish, sophisticated and most uniquely Perla. (Photo © by Christof Graf)

In her unique, worldly and soulful style, she brings all of these influences together in her newly completed song cycle, "Mestiza." Co-written with David Batteau, Mestiza is an inspired pilgrimage retracing mystic paths leading up to the composite of myths, colors and cultures known as Mexico.

Mestiza, Perla's second album, was released in 1998... and the third one, Heaven and Earth, in 2000

Perla’s first album was released on August 2, 1994. It was produced by Perla herself with Leanne Ungar. Discovery Records, California. 1046-77011-2. Track listing (total time: 57:04): I’ve been gone too long, If you only knew, Crazy love, Make it simple, China doll, This too shall pass, Seems so long ago Nancy, Tengo fe, Sixteen tons, I see you, Cu cu rru cu cu paloma, Innocence. Most songs were written by Perla. Seems so long ago Nancy written and composed by Leonard Cohen.

Perla tells how he career as recording artist began: "When I left L.A., my friends told me I was slitting my throat, because there was nothing happening outside of L.A.", Perla explains. "But Leonard ruined it for me in terms of where could I go from there? Where else could you sing that quality of songs with that caliber of musician? If there’s one thing being with Leonard taught me it was to be honest at all costs".

"My favorite singers were always male vocalists and it made me mad that my voice had all these cracks and tones built in. It was always the gutsy, full-throated singers that inspired me... So when I sing, I want to give it all".

"When you perform, sometimes there’s a sense of loss, and exhaustion in every way, physically, emotionally. But there’s also a sense of excitement. I think all people crave to be understood, and there’s nothing like that feeling of being understood by an audience. You definitely went on a journey and you know you made it."

Click on thumbnail to go to Perla's site.

In 2005 Perla released a new album
dedicated to the songs of Leonard Cohen.

Read more about her CD
Bird on the wire - The Songs of Leonard Cohen