Mujer Divina: Tribute to Agustin Lara by Natalia Lafourcade

9 September 2019

During the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence in 2010, renowned orchestra director Alondra de la Parra decided to record songs that reflect Mexicans’ collective identity, honoring classic Mexican composers. She gathered some young singers: Natalia Lafourcade, Denise Gutierrez, and Ely Guerra. Together they gave a splendid concert at the Independence Monument in Mexico City.

In that moment, Natalia Lafourcade fell in love with the music of Agustin Lara, one of the honored musicians. She returned to the old and beautiful Mexican music from the 1920s to the 1960s. Slow, calm, lovely and romantic, but also filled with suffering and nostalgia, the music from this period is refined and melodious.

Lafourcade’s approach to Lara’s music is so sincere and pure you can hear it in her interpretations. With her voice, his music comes alive again and his art returns to present day. Lafourcade took some of Lara’s most well-known songs and not only interpreted them but put some of herself into them – through musical arrangements, lyric changes, different harmonies – all while trying to preserve the pure essence. Her interest was not only in bringing Lara’s music to modern times, but to make it relevant to Mexican youth.

Some songs, such as “Limosna,” “Amor, Amor de Mis Amores,” and “Mujer Divina,” show us a different perspective of Lara’s art, with happier melodies, faster rhythms, or sensitive voices making them more danceable and sweeter. In others, like “Imposible” and “Farolito,” Lafourcade rescues all the original feelings stored within the lyrics and makes them tangible to the listener through her multifaceted voice.

The last song, “Maria Bonita,” is the masterpiece of the album. It was recorded by Lafourcade in her home, in the middle of the night, with just a guitar and her voice. This arrangement strips the song to its core, its deepest part, its true meaning. “Maria Bonita” makes us feel in our bones the real Agustin Lara, the beloved one.

Natalia Lafourcade has been evolving since her entry into contemporary Mexican music in the late 1990s, with her self-titled first album. She began as the “Girl from the 2000” – a rebellious, brave political activist but also a sensitive young woman. Now she is that and more: fashion designer, philanthropist, and platinum artist: she has become the new ­“Divine Woman” of Mexico.

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