Natalia Lafourcade Talks Grammys, New Single, 'Musas Vol. 2' Album, 'Coco' & U.S. Tour [INTERVIEW]

Natalia Lafourcade
Natalia Lafourcade's new album "Musas Vol. 2" is set for release on February 9. Latin Times spoke with the Mexican singer about her recent single "Danza De Gardenias" plus her Grammys 2018 nomination, and much more. Photo: Getty Images

Natalia Lafourcade's journey through Latin American folk musical traditions continues with the release of the second volume of her album Musas Vol 2: Un Homenaje Al Folclore Latinoamericano En Manos De Los Macorinos (A Tribute to Latin American Folklore in the Hands of the Macorinos), and her most extensive U.S. tour to date.

Musas Vol. 2 is set for release on February 9, but her new single "Danza de Gardenias" is already a hit. The song is a rhythmic Cuban son that deftly brings together the old and new. It features acoustic instruments like the contrabass, bongos, congas, the Cuban tres guitar, the Venezuelan cuatro guitar, clarinet and trumpet. It also includes backing vocals from El David Aguilar, Gustavo Guerrero, Adriana Rodríguez, Roger Hudson, Toño “El Negro” Peregrino and the Colombian female quintet Ventino. All these elements combine to give this song its rhythm and passion.

"Danza de Gardenias" was co-written by Natalia and El David Aguilar with lyrics that are both introspective and joyful, incorporating poetic imagery that describe a breakup. Its bittersweet tone slowly turns into a happy tribute to lost love. 

"Musas is a project that was born as a concern that I had to work with the Macorinos and connect with Latin American music, the composers I admire, learn from that music and enrich myself as an artist," Lafourcade tells Latin Times.

"It really was not a project that I started with the intention of recording an album, what I wanted was to be in the studio recording everything I could with the Macorinos," she reveals. The Macorinos aren’t just Natalia's back-up musicians; they actually are a guitar duo, Miguel Peña and Juan Carlos Allende, formed in 2004 by Costa Rican singer Chavela Vargas, known for her rendition of Mexican rancheras.

As a kind of secret project for Natalia, after the Macorinos accepted her invitation to play music with her, independently and thinking about paying for everything, she embarked on the adventure of recording to eventually presenting the material to people close to her. They not only loved it, but also motivated her to go after that personal dream of hers, an album that successfully would reach the masses. 

"Inertia made us all start working as one," she says. "We already had everything, date of possible release, visuals, and a lot of music." Natalia's inspiration was so big, that to avoid cramping everything on a single record, she decided to make two volumes to, according to her, "give little by little" due to the fact that these two albums are quite different from what the audience is used to listen from her.

The first volume of "Musas" won two Latin GRAMMYs last fall for "Best Folk Album" and "Best Long-Form Music Video." Rolling Stone spotlighted her performance at the awards show, saying "Natalia Lafourcade is one of those delightful anomalies who has her feet planted on both the mainstream and alternative landscapes of Latin music."

Musas Vol. 2 features a collection of 13 tracks, including original songs by Natalia as well as reinterpretations of renowned songwriters such as Atahualpa YupanquiSimón Díaz and Margarita Lecuona

"My muses are the composers that I admire, characters like Violeta Parra, Chavela Vargas, Agustín Lara, all the composers that were part of this. But there were other aspects as well," she emphasizes.

"Mexico itself was a muse for me, I wanted to write a song for Mexico and that's why I made 'Mexicana Hermosa.' That song is the image of many Mexicans, from the Virgin of Guadalupe to my mother, my grandmother, women that have gone through my life that are beautiful and warrior Mexicans, with great energy, rural women, those who work making crafts. Then also the land where I grew up, Veracruz, and Rocío de Todos Los Campos, which was a friend who died three years ago and for me was many things, I wanted to sing to her as is sung to death and pay her that homage."

"After the album 'Hasta La Raíz,' I became more conscious of the need to explore our past and our essence through the songs and stories that are proudly hidden between words, chords and melodies," Lafourcade says. "'Musas' is a record we made with the purpose of recovering hidden and forgotten treasures. It is an homage to Latin American folklore in the hands of Los Macorinos."

Natalia's upcoming U.S. Tour features 20 dates including Terminal 5 (New York), Theatre At The Ace Hotel (Los Angeles), Concord Music Hall (Chicago) and more.

Lafourcade also performs "Remember Me" with Miguel, from the Disney Pixar film dedicated to the entire family "Coco." The theme song that was just nominated for an Oscar as "Best Original Song." 

"This is so exciting," she says. "They invited me to sing the song and for me it was like being a small piece of a big puzzle. I feel very proud because the message and what I want to transmit through my music, the film transmits it too."

  • Musas: Un Homenaje Al Folclore Latinoamericano En Manos De Los Macorinos (Vol. 2 TRACKLIST)

1. Danza de Gardenias (Natalia Lafourcade & David Aguilar Dorantes)

2. Alma Mía (María Grever)

3. Hoy Mi Día Uno (Natalia Lafourcade)

4. Tus Ojitos (Vals de la Guardia Vieja)

5. Duerme Negrito (Traditional)

6. Luz de Luna (Álvaro Carrillo)

7. Derecho de Nacimiento (Natalia Lafourcade)

8. Eclipse (Margarita Lecuona)

9. La Llorona (Traditional)

10. Desdeñosa (feat. Omara Portuondo & Eugenia León) (Benigno Lara Foster)

11. Te Sigo (Óscar Avilés)

12. Humanidad (Alberto Domínguez)

13. Gavota (Manuel María Ponce)

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Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.