Within the first measure of this album, I felt the hair on my arms raise and tears well in my eyes, and Rolling Stone reports that Natalia Lafourcade received a standing ovation before uttering a single note at the album’s premier.Lafourcade’s new album, “De Todas las Flores” was released on Oct. 28. The album comes after a seven-year hiatus from an album with entirely original music, “Hasta la Raíz,” which was released in 2015.
Lafourcade was not unoccupied during that time; she worked on several other projects, including collaborative albums such as “Musas” and “Un canto por México.”
The 38-year-old pop-rock and folk singer and composer has been one of Latin America’s most popular artists since her debut in 2002.
On Oct. 27, she premiered “De Todas las Flores” at Carnegie Hall. The sold-out concert featured the first-ever live performances of music from the album, as well as special selections from throughout her career.
To accompany the album, Lafourcade has launched a podcast, “De Todas las Flores, El podcast,” which is described as a “musical diary” of the creative process. There will be 12 episodes, one for each song, featuring thoughtful conversations with special guests, including her mother.
Lafourcade’s sound is based in jazz, classical, bolero and the Mexican folkloric genre of son jarocho. Adán Jodorowsky produced the album, which included guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist Sebastian Steinberg and drummer Cyril Atef.
In terms of the album’s themes, they revolve around love, death and nature. Despite the potential for clichéd lyrics, Lafourcade incorporates these images in a manner that is vulnerable and refreshing.
There are four tracks that have established a permanent corner of my mind.
“Vine solita” is the album’s opening track. An almost two-minute orchestral intro sets the tone for the album; it is somber, tense and gripping. The song’s lyrics serve as a beautiful and tragic reminder that life can feel endlessly lonesome at times: “A este mundo vine solita / solita me voy a morir ” (“I came into this world alone / alone I am going to die”).
“It represents a covenant with myself from the moment I comprehend that I have come into this world in this body that I inhabit, but which one day I will leave,” Lafourcade said on her official website, which has a tab dedicated to the album. There is an option to “explore” each track in depth – each song includes a description from Lafourcade.
Lafourcade began to write the eponymous “De todas las flores” in 2018, making it the oldest song on the album.
The track follows Lafourcade’s journey as she mourns a break up: “De todas las flores que sembramos / sólo quedan unas encendidas / Cada mañana se preguntan / cuándo llegarás para cantarles” (“Of all the flowers we planted/ only a few remain lit / Every morning they wonder / when you will arrive to sing to them”).
Lafourcade speaks to a hummingbird in “Pajarito colibrí,” urging it to live freely and joyfully. It seems that the hummingbird represents a side of Lafourcade herself; the singer speaks to the bird in comforting words and a tranquil tone. This gives a restorative tone to the song as she consoles the hummingbird by giving it hope that it will live, encouraging it not to be scared but to soar and live freely.
“I perceive it as a song that contains the force of nature and the magic that exists in it,” she said.
These notions of healing are also present in “María la Curandera.” Lafourcade speaks to a little girl through a reflective lens and advises her that she must cure her hurt with love in order for fresh flowers to blossom. Lafourcade said that this song is an adaptation of a text by María Sabina: “That text helped me remember my strength as a woman and the importance of being connected to the earth and nature. To work to know myself better because self-knowledge is power and infinite possibilities.”
All in all, this is a powerful album — emotions of nostalgia and melancholy are palpable. It is evident Lafourcade is careful in her craft; there is poetry in every breath she utters. These songs are timeless; Lafourcade’s wisdom feels concurrently ancient and modern.