Natalia Lafourcade Explains The Roots Of 'Hasta La Raíz' The Mexican musician revisits the creation of the title track from her Grammy-winning album Hasta La Raíz. "I wanted to sing about something that would remind me of Mexico and home," she says.
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Natalia Lafourcade Explains The Roots Of 'Hasta La Raíz'

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Natalia Lafourcade Explains The Roots Of 'Hasta La Raíz'

Natalia Lafourcade Explains The Roots Of 'Hasta La Raíz'

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now we're going to hear the story behind a popular song.

NATALIA LAFOURCADE: My name is Natalia Lafourcade. I'm a singer, songwriter from Mexico.

CORNISH: Natalia Lafourcade won four Latin Grammys back in November, including for this song, "Hasta La Raiz." It means to the roots.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HASTA LA RAIZ")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

CORNISH: She explained how her hit song was made on Song Exploder, a podcast that unpacks songs with the musicians who created them. Natalia Lafourcade says this song started with a conversation.

LAFOURCADE: I went to my friend's house. His name is Leonel Garcia, and he's a great composer from Mexico as well. I know him since long ago. We were talking about the importance of keeping your roots and keeping all the things that build you - your home, your friends, your family, your experiences. I wanted to sing about something that will remind me of Mexico and home. So I was telling him, like, why don't we try a very traditional riff from Mexico - this huapango thing on the guitar? So he started, like, playing that huapango.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LAFOURCADE: There is huapangos in many areas in Mexico, but I never tried to put any music like that into my music and mix it with this pop sensation of a song.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LAFOURCADE: I started, like, trying to put the words together and to make the phrases of the song. So I went into the studio, and I started discovering the words by singing them.

(Singing in Spanish).

So I was getting these goosebumps and all that magic feelings that comes to you whenever you're singing a song that you're just discovering.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LAFOURCADE: So I called my friend Mariana Ruiz. So she came to my house, and we worked on the arrangements.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LAFOURCADE: I think that the strings give you the feeling of an epic feeling. And that's how you feel when you're flying away from something and you're - you are going through so many things that make you stronger. I wanted to have that emotion and that sensation in the arrangement.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LAFOURCADE: We were first doing that melody - pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa (ph) - with a xylophone and with the steel drum. Then he put that melody into the guitar.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LAFOURCADE: There is this line...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HASTA LA RAIZ")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

(Speaking Spanish). You are still inside of me because I am keeping you. I am not forgetting. I keep you inside of me. I mean many different things. It is love, but it is also all the things that built me and that help me to be who I am now. So I keep all that. I keep my home. I keep the place I come from. I keep my mother, my father. I keep my lovers. I keep my experiences. The good and the bad moments - I keep all that. It is important not to forget your roots. Keep that, and you can grow up. And you can fly far away, and you can be a big artist or whatever you want to be. But it is important, I think, to keep all that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HASTA LA RAIZ")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

CORNISH: That was Natalia Lafourcade talking about making her song, "Hasta La Raiz." This story came to us from the podcast Song Exploder. It's produced by Hrishikesh Hirway. You can hear other episodes at songexploder.net or wherever you get your podcasts. You'll also find it featured at earbud.fm, NPR's guide to great podcasts.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HASTA LA RAIZ")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

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