Natalia Lafourcade

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Natalia Lafourcade is an internationally recognized Grammy- and Latin Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and record producer from Mexico. Since issuing her self-titled debut album in 2004, her music has been a staple at radio in her home country and across Latin America as well as in the U.S. Her musical style is exceptionally diverse, simultaneously informed by and reflecting the folk traditions of Mexico, Latin America, and Brazil, and also by indie pop, rock, and rock en español. Her many videos have racked up hundreds of millions of views. Ever restless, her 2005 sophomore outing Casa was credited to Natalia y la Forquetina, a rock band who played bossa-inspired indie pop. Lafourcade underscored her musical versatility when she released the completely instrumental Las 4 Estaciones del Amor in 2008. Her 2016 offering, Hasta La Raiz, won a Grammy and netted five Latin Grammys, including one for album of the year. Her follow-up, 2017′s Musas, was recorded in collaboration with guitar duo Los Macorinos. It took home the Latin Grammy for folk album of the year. In February 2018, Musas, Vol. 2 appeared while LaFourcade was on sabbatical. It received several Latin Grammy nominations. She returned in 2020 with Un Canto por México, Vol. 1, featuring original, traditional, and classic material performed by the artist with a mariachi orchestra and chorus directed by Nando Hernandez. Its companion, Volume 2, was released in 2021. In 2022, she released the star-studded De Todas Las Flores, featuring all-original material.
Natalia Lafourcade Silva was born in Mexico City into an artistic family. Her father, Gastón Lafourcade, is a celebrated Chilean musician, while her mother is pianist María del Carmen Silva Contreras. Lafourcade has stated that she knew from an early age she wanted to be an artist. Throughout childhood she studied painting, theater, and music. Her studies of the latter led to her becoming proficient on several instruments including the flute, saxophone, guitar, and piano. She also studied singing. Though she attended a Catholic middle school, Instituto Anglo Español, Lafourcade spent several years living with her mother in Coatepec, Veracruz, Mexico, where they both studied music. Some of her cited contemporary influences are Fiona Apple, Björk, Café Tacuba, and Zuco 103.
In time, Lafourcade was taken under the wing of Loris Ceroni, a well-regarded Italian producer perhaps best known for his work with Alejandra Guzman. Recording at Le Dune Estudios in Italy, he produced the bulk of what would later be released by Sony Norte as Natalia Lafourcade (2003), with the remainder of the album produced by Aureo Baqueiro back in Mexico. An eclectic, free-spirited album encompassing everything from gentle bossa nova-style acoustic guitar to hard-hitting dance beats, often within the same song, Natalia Lafourcade is a fascinating album of pop confetti anchored by well-written songs and charismatic singing. It found a captive audience in Mexico, generating four hit singles (“En el 2000,” “Busca un Problema,” “Elefantes,” “Te Quiero Dar”), topping the album chart, and going three-times platinum. Moreover, it wasn’t only consumers who were captivated by the album, as Lafourcade earned four Latin Grammy nominations for her debut effort: Song of the Year (“En el 2000”), Best New Artist, Best Rock Solo Vocal Album, and Best Rock Song (“En el 2000″). She also earned a standard Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album.
In 2004, Lafourcade assembled a four-piece rock band, Natalia y la Forquetina, also comprising Alonso (drums, programming), Chanona (guitar, bass guitar), and Yuno (accordion, keyboards). Fernando Eimbcke, a filmmaker who had directed the video for “En el 2000,” invited Lafourcade and her new band to record a song for the soundtrack to his film Temporada de Patos (2004). The song “Un Pato” is a reinterpretation of a traditional bossa nova and it marked the debut of Natalia y la Forquetina. Meanwhile, the band worked on a full-length album with producer Emmanuel del Real (aka Meme) from the band Café Tacuba, and with Baqueiro again.
The resulting album, Casa (2005), is indeed the product of a genuine rock band, with surging electric guitars driving many of the songs. Though considerably more one-dimensional than Lafourcade’s self-titled debut, and not quite as successful, Casa nonetheless spun off some hits, topped the album chart, went platinum in Mexico, and won a Latin Grammy for Best Rock Album by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Furthermore, the band arrangement facilitated Lafourcade’s emergence as a concert performer, and indeed, she took Natalia y la Forquetina on the road, touring extensively throughout Mexico over the course of a year. Their last show was in August of 2006, after which Lafourcade disbanded la Forquetina and resumed her solo career with the classical EP Las 4 Estaciones del Amor (2008). She then returned to pop with the Grammy-nominated Hu Hu Hu (2009) and Mujer Divina: Homenaje a Agustín Lara (2012), as well as Hasta la Raíz (2015). The latter recording hit number one on the Mexican albums chart and peaked at number eight on the Top Latin Albums list. It also won two Latin Grammys, including Album of the Year and Best Alternative Music Album. Its title track took home both the Song of the Year and Best Alternative Song awards. 2017′s Musas (A Tribute to Latin American Folklore in Hands of the Macorinos) not only placed in the Top Latin Albums Top Five but won a Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album as well as the award for Best Long Form Music Video for Musas: The Documentary. The recording was also nominated for a standard Grammy in the Best Latin Pop Album category. She followed it with Musas Un Homenaje al FolcloreLatinoamericano en Manos de Los Macorinos, Vol. 2, shortened to Musas, Vol. 2 by her U.S. label. After its release, Lafourcade announced she would be going on sabbatical to recover from 15 years of the release-and-tour cycle. The album received a Latin Grammy nomination for Album of the Year at the 19th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2018 and garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album in 2019.
That November, in Mexico City’s Auditorio Nacional, Lafourcade returned from sabbatical with a host of Mexico’s finest musicians who came together with the stated intention of raising funds to restore El Centro de Documentación del Son Jarocho in Veracruz. For more than a quarter-century, this space has been dedicated to the preservation of Veracruz’s cultural heritage. It has nurtured singers, dancers, musicians, and songwriters of many stripes; it was severely damaged in the 2017 earthquakes. The sold-out show was recorded and released in May of 2020 as Un Canto por México: En Favor Del Centro De Documentación Del Son Jarocho. It prominently featured the region’s own modern soneros Los Cojolites (they had previously backed her on Hasta La Raiz), and included guest appearances by Jorge Drexler, Carlos Rivera, and Panteón Rococó. The Grammy-nominated Un Canto por México, Vol. 2 was released in 2021, followed by the release of a deluxe edition and the brief Un Canto por México: El Musical.
In October 2022, Lafourcade issued the full-length De Todas Las Flores. Produced by Adán Jodorowsky (son of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky), it contained the first all-new material from the songwriter in seven years. Written in the aftermath of a devastating romantic breakup in 2018, its tracks included musical contributions from Marc Ribot, Emiliano Dorantes, Sebastian Steinberg, Cyril Atef, and others. Un Canto por México: El Musical was named Best Regional Mexican Album at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards in 2023. ~ Thom Jurek & Jason Birchmeier