Artist Spotlight: Natalia Lafourcade

This Artist Spotlight is a salute to the internet. Also, the inter-connectedness of Latin American music.Without which, I would never have heard of Ms Lafourcade. I was intoduced to Mala Rodriguez by a Spanish friend. I found her duet with Julieta Venegas on youtube and became a big fan , thus hearing the version of the same duet performed with Ana Tijoux and the live concert Venegas performed with Lafourcade. I only needed to hear about 5 secondsbefore I fell in love with her voice.

So that’s a Spanish singer to a Mexican singer to a Chilean and back to Mexico. ( And Lafourcade has a French-Chilean father) Effortlessly introduced through algorithms.

She was a precocious talent, performing in Mariachi bands by the age of 10 and by 14 forming the pop group ‘Twist’ I’ll include the link here but only for completeness. surprisingly a pop tune performed by kids is not great. (I’ve heard worse though)

Twist split after one year and the age of 17 she was approached by the producer Louis Ceroni to join another group but she declined to pursue a solo career. Ceroni stuck with her for that , producing her eponymous debut album. Released in 2003 it reached no. 1 in Mexico

For her second album Casa she peformed with a band as ‘Natalia Y La Forquetina’. It’s a tremendously fun album, poppy and light with a strong Salsa vibe

The band lasted for one album and a tour before Lafourcade returned to her solo career. She released an instrumental album, The 4 Seasons Of Love and wrote for her compatriot Ximena Sariñana

The opening song ‘Hu Hu Hu’ was from the album of the same name released in 2009 where she had moved to a softer, gentler sound. This is more my personal cup of tea. If you liked that I’d recommend Carla Morrison, another Mexican singer/songwriter whose album Lafourcade produced

As you can hear, on her most recent album Hasta La Raiz she is keeping things spare and allowing her voice (such a voice) to shine through. The Colombian singer Esteman obviously realises this. In his new single ‘ Caotica Belleza’ (released last week) at every point where Lafourcade sings solo the music drops away from the rousing sounds heard throughout to quiet violin or mandolin.

She has a voice that needs no augmentation or surrounding noise and is my favourite discovery of this year. Hopefully you enjoyed some of her work as well.