NPR logo Watch Natalia Lafourcade's Graceful Elegy, 'Rocío De Todos Los Campos'

Watch Natalia Lafourcade's Graceful Elegy, 'Rocío De Todos Los Campos'

Natalia Lafourcade's new album, Musas, comes out May 5. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Natalia Lafourcade's new album, Musas, comes out May 5.

Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist Natalia Lafourcade has a voice that lures you in quietly — before you know it, she's pulled you deep into her grotto of intimacy and emotion. The Mexican singer-songwriter bared it all on her last album, Hasta La Raíz, a poignant exploration of love and loss that won five Latin Grammys. On her new song, "Rocío De Todos Los Campos," which makes its world premiere today, Lafourcade harnesses her soft power again — this time to honor the life of her friend, the Mexican modern dancer Rocío Sagaón.

Sagaón, who died in 2015, is often remembered for appearing alongside actor Pedro Infante in the 1951 film Las Islas Marias. Sagaón was only 17 at the time, but her performance is unforgettable: She steals the show during a seductive dance sequence on a beach, where she glides through the air and mimics the waves crashing behind her.

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Lafourcade captures Sagaón's energy on "Rocío De Todos Los Campos." The song is graceful and lithe, driven by Lafourcade's wispy vocals and classic guitars. Lafourcade doesn't dwell on Sagaón's death; instead, she explores all the ways that the ballerina's presence lingers in the physical world. The poetic lyrics wouldn't seem out place on a recording by Chilean folk singer Violeta Parra: "Free you'll be, always / A purple butterfly among the bamboo," Lafourcade sings.

Both a stunning eulogy and a nod to Latin American folk music, "Rocío De Todos Los Campos" reflects the traditional sounds that have inspired Lafourcade's forthcoming album, Musas, on which she's collaborated with acoustic guitar masters Los Macorinos. The album, out May 5, will undoubtedly conjure up more ghosts of musical styles past.