On 'Musas,' Natalia Lafourcade Celebrates Legends Of Latin Music The Mexico City singer-songwriter talks to NPR's Kelly McEvers about her growing pride in her heritage and the importance of introducing younger listeners to Latin American musical history.
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On 'Musas,' Natalia Lafourcade Celebrates Legends Of Latin Music

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On 'Musas,' Natalia Lafourcade Celebrates Legends Of Latin Music

On 'Musas,' Natalia Lafourcade Celebrates Legends Of Latin Music

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HASTA LA RAIZ")

NATALIA LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Natalia Lafourcade is best known for this song, "Hasta La Raiz." She won a Grammy last year for the album it's on, also called "Hasta La Raiz." And the album was all about a breakup. Now the pop singer is exploring Latin American folk music, mainly from Mexico where she lives and where she's from.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TU SI SABES QUERERME")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

MCEVERS: Lafourcade's new album is called "Musas," which means muses. And her muses are Latin American singers, performers and poets.

LAFOURCADE: I wanted the music to sound, like, made in Mexico. I wanted to connect to my roots.

MCEVERS: She even worked with some of these muses on the album, including the legendary Mexican guitar duo Los Macorinos.

(SOUNDBITE OF NATALIA LAFOURCADE SONG, "TU SI SABES QUERERME")

MCEVERS: They play on every track of "Musas." They're in their 70s. Lafourcade is 33. She says working with them was different.

LAFOURCADE: The Macorinos and me - there's a big space between our generations. The people I was used to work with, we will do everything faster. And the Macorinos were more, like, calm. They were patient with music, and they were paying a lot of attention to the details.

MCEVERS: And working with two or three generations of musicians all sitting down together in one room, what does that do? I mean how do you think it's affected the music?

LAFOURCADE: Sometimes the music will tell you where to go. And when you find that place I believe is when you're just connecting to the feelings and the heart and the people you're with. You're all working to have a piece of art, you know, music and trying to figure out a way of making it contemporary and modern at the same time as having this old spirit that they have. And it's beautiful.

MCEVERS: Let's listen to "Te Vi Pasar" - "I Saw You Pass By."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TE VI PASAR")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

MCEVERS: "Those eyes, two crystals - the one reflected. My love didn't notice me." These are lyrics by the very well-known Mexican songwriter and poet named Agustin Lara. I mean your audience is obviously young people who listen to you. Do you think it's important to expose them to these more traditional-sounding songs?

LAFOURCADE: Yes. If we don't listen to that music, if we don't go closer to that music, it will get lost. And this project - when I thought about this project, I was more in the mood of going back home and exploring through all these songwriters that I love that put in a place the full glory of their countries and their people and their stories and their places.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TE VI PASAR")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

I really want to become, like, a composer for my people, my country that will photograph the things that are happening now in story and in life and love but not only, like, the love of a couple, you know, the love in general. It becomes, like, a very strong influence, all this music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TE VI PASAR")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

MCEVERS: And you have all these muses for this album - of course that's the title of the album - these traditional artists and musicians who you've known through your life. Do people who hear - you know, younger listeners who hear this music now - do they come to you and say, wow, I didn't even know that existed; thank you for bringing it to me? I mean what's been the reaction?

LAFOURCADE: I was wondering how they will react to this music, and they love it.

MCEVERS: Why do you think that's important for that audience?

LAFOURCADE: Well, I think it is important because it has made me more sensitive. Some years ago, I wasn't feeling that proud of being who I am and where I come from and the place I grew up and my country and my culture. I didn't even think about it, like, many years ago. And as I went through that music, now I feel more proud. And there are many ways to connect to that. So if I can make my audience, which are very young people, listen to something that will make them connect to those things, maybe I am doing something right. I don't know (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI TIERRA VERACRUZANA")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

MCEVERS: Natalia Lafourcade, thank you so much for talking to us today.

LAFOURCADE: Thank you so much. Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI TIERRA VERACRUZANA")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

MCEVERS: Her new album is "Musas."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI TIERRA VERACRUZANA")

LAFOURCADE: (Singing in Spanish).

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