Drawing on folk traditions, Spanish musician Guitarricadelafuente bridges generations Spanish musician Guitarricadelafuente discusses the making of his debut album, La Cantera, and the mix of both the ancient and the modern that's essential to his sound.

Drawing on folk traditions, Spanish musician Guitarricadelafuente bridges generations

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Let's take a few minutes to meet a new artist, whose music blends old Spanish folk with electronic sounds, like synths and auto-tune. NPR's Isabella Gomez Sarmiento has this introduction.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MIL Y UNA NOCHES")

ALVARO LAFUENTE: (Singing in Spanish).

ISABELLA GOMEZ SARMIENTO, BYLINE: His name is Alvaro Lafuente, and he relishes the past. The 24-year-old musician from Benicassim, Spain, traces his lineage through song.

LAFUENTE: I think that my musical origins are very, like, influenced by my family and my background in my family.

GOMEZ SARMENTO: He performs as Guitarricadelafuente.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MIL Y UNA NOCHES")

LAFUENTE: (Singing in Spanish).

GOMEZ SARMENTO: He's inspired by jota, the folkloric style of music native to the Aragon region of Spain, where his family is from.

LAFUENTE: My granddad used to be, like, the jota teacher and the guitar and bandurria teacher in my village.

GOMEZ SARMENTO: That village is Las Cuevas de Canart, a small town with an ageing population. Their kids, like Alvaro's parents, grew up and moved closer to the cities. But Alvaro says the big, extended families always come back and visit.

LAFUENTE: Everybody got together again, and the streets came again with life and with youth, you know?

GOMEZ SARMENTO: He remembers running down the streets with other kids and the grandparents shouting.

LAFUENTE: Here comes the la cantera, you know, as, like, the future generations, you know?

GOMEZ SARMENTO: La cantera - the young folks - that's actually what Alvaro called his album. It explores the relationship between old and young, tradition and innovation.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A CARTA CABAL")

LAFUENTE: (Singing in Spanish).

GOMEZ SARMENTO: This song, "A carta cabal," captures the spirit of the album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A CARTA CABAL")

LAFUENTE: (Singing in Spanish).

A carta cabal is the full essence of something personal. You're honest a carta cabal. You're humble a carta cabal. You are happy a carta cabal. It's, like, the fullest expression of something.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A CARTA CABAL")

LAFUENTE: (Singing in Spanish).

GOMEZ SARMENTO: The music video for "A carta cabal" features three generations in a desolate, forgotten town. Still, the children run and play together, maintaining a hopeful optimism. "A carta cabal" received a Latin Grammy nomination for best short-form music video.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A CARTA CABAL")

LAFUENTE: (Singing in Spanish).

It also, like, represents, like, this sense of youth or this sense of excitement or that things are changing.

GOMEZ SARMENTO: The change, he says, comes from young people trying to reconnect with their roots.

LAFUENTE: Going back home with your grandma and going to a specific bar in Barcelona, where they serve, like, the traditional bravas or the traditional tortilla, you know?

GOMEZ SARMENTO: That feeling is really the beating heart of Alvaro's album, "La cantera."

LAFUENTE: For me, this is more like a presentation card, like, for people to know me or to know where I come from, which I think is, like, the most honest way to show yourself to people.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A CARTA CABAL")

LAFUENTE: (Singing in Spanish).

GOMEZ SARMENTO: So Guitarricadelafuente is making those introductions, song by song. Isabella Gomez Sarmiento, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YA MI MAMA ME DECIA")

LAFUENTE: (Singing in Spanish).

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