Natalia Lafourcade shines on Tiny Desk

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Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade appeared at NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert just over a month ago, and the beauty of the music has stuck with me since. Fresh off a new album “Musas: Un Homenaje al Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de los Macorinos, Vol. 1” that hearkens back to the golden age of Mexican music, the singer brought a few songs to Tiny Desk to share just a little part of Mexico’s musical folklore with us.

The first song that Lafourcade shares with the audience is a sweet ballad called “Soledad y el Mar.” Her voice on the song is tender and full of emotion, sending us on a journey to a time when music was heart-wrenchingly romantic, evoking beautiful landscapes and the the exhilarating and often despairing feelings of the heart.

“En el canto de las olas
Encontré un rubor de luz
Por un canto de gaviotas
Supe que allí estabas tú
Despidiendo últimamente todo lo que sucedió
Hoy saludo mi presente y gusto de este dulce adiós”
This heartbreaking song uses the imagery of the ocean to describe the bittersweet goodbye of someone they love. The first two lines of the song translate to “In the song of the waves / I found a blush of light.” The ocean represents the memories they have of their lover and the loneliness that seems so endless and deep. Complimenting the romantic lyrics, the song’s tune is equal parts playful and sad, Lafourcade’s voice effortlessly carrying the melody, her band’s backup vocals trembling with emotion. There is something so undeniably beautiful when the song changes to the part that plays out the rest of the song:
“Que me cante el mar
Un bolero de soledad
Que me cante el mar
Que ando sola con soledad”
Loneliness and the sea have never felt more like a pair than when Lafourcade and her band sang this song. After her last note dies away, the small audience roars with applause for the Mexican singer.
The second song that Lafourcade presents is a song she wrote for her hometown of Veracruz and the little neighborhood that she grew up in. She calls the song “Mi Tierra Veracruzana” in affection for her homeland. It’s a sweet little song that documents life in her little village. She starts out simply, the energy of the song increasing as it plays on:
“Volverte a ver
Volverte a ver
Mi tierra veracruzana, te quiero ver
Volverte a ver
Volverte a ver
Mi tierra veracruzana, te quiero querer”
The last song that she sings is “Tú Sí Sabes Quererme,” a love song that roughly translates to “You Know How To Love Me.” At first, Lafourcade has the crowd sing the song along with her and the band, telling them “you just have to sing as if you were very in love with somebody, and that’s it.” Soon the band erupts into the whole song.
On the chorus she sings:
“Corazón tu si sabes quererme como a mi me gusta
Soy la flor encendida que da color al jardín de tu vida”
I’m sure by the end of the concert that the crowd has fallen in love with Lafourcade’s music. It is a wonderful meeting of Latin music’s rich history with Lafourcade’s beautiful songwriting. Check out her album “Musas” when you get the chance.
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