Self-described ‘nature punk’ Alynda Lee Segarra turned to the natural world for solace during lockdown – in 2022, they will return with an album that tackles climate catastrophe yet brims with hope

More cultural highlights of 2022

Alynda Lee Segarra is practising radical joy. The musician – better known as Hurray for the Riff Raff – has decided to embrace happiness in spite of this era’s particular horrors. “This is a violent time to be a human – it’s kind of always a violent time to be a human,” they explain over Zoom from their airy New Orleans home. “How do we stay present, how do we intensely feel joy, and not just the crushing weight of it all?”

The answer is trees. “We’re hit with hurricanes every year yet plant life is thriving. It was very comforting to look at these living beings and be like: ‘I don’t know how to survive this. How the fuck do you survive this?’” they say, recounting pandemic-induced walks around their lush local landscape. Growing up in a cramped apartment in the Bronx, New York City, they felt the natural world was reserved for “very wealthy people who go on elaborate vacations. It felt like a class divide.” Now, plants aren’t just offering Segarra strength and solace – they’re also helping them craft a whole new genre.

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