On a chilly November night in the desert, Natalia Lafourcade set the stage on fire with an incandescent performance. Often referred to as the “voice of Mexico” Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade graced the stage at the Fantasy Springs Resort in Indio, California on Nov. 30.
The concert was centered around her recent album “De Todas Las Flores” (Of All The Flowers), which debuted last year in October, and would be her first collection of original music since her previous album in 2015 “Hasta La Raiz.” It has strong Mexican influences along with Latin American and French.
“De Todas Las Flores” is a musical diary inspired by different life experiences. The album takes listeners on a journey through contemplating life and death, heartbreak, honoring vulnerability, nature and the mystical. Its romantic, lighter beats balance out its lamentful tones.
As Natalia walked on stage, violins narrated her entrance and carried up creating a dramatic and eerie effect. She wore a thick, black gown that trailed behind her and held a guitar in one hand as she took a seat on a simple wooden chair.
She belted out her first mournful cry of the night in “Vine Solita” (I came alone) that sent an electric shock through the audience and pierced right through to the soul. She was accompanied by nothing else than a few strums of her acoustic guitar, sending the message that as deep as the album was, simplicity was the core theme.
Natalia’s enigmatic performance was accentuated by the support of her musical band, whom she shares the stage with; consisting of a pianist, electric guitarist, bass player, trumpeter and drummer to name a few. The night consisted of Latin jazz and folk genres, including bolero, Mexican cumbia, bossa nova and son jarocho.
The audience consisted of old, young, local and visiting attendees but what stood out was that mostly everyone in the audience remained seated to let others who were further away get a view of the stage. Part of me also thinks it was because with a good piece of music, sometimes you just need to sit there, listen and admire it. However later in the night, many got up to stand on the outskirts of the seating area to dance and sing along.
“De Todas Las Flores” held true to its Spanish bolero melodic blues infused with jazzy, cumbia beats. One can’t help but feel compelled to get up and dance while also contemplating their own experience with heartbreak. Her rendition of “Maria La Curandera” (Maria the Healer) presented a Mexican folklore story essence mixed with cumbia and bossa nova beats.
The second act of the concert saw Natalia’s transformation with her performance of “Muerte” (Death), which is based on a poem written by the singer-songwriter David Aguilar. It was my favorite part and song of the night.
Having sat the entire first part of the show; she stood up and began to dance on the stage in a sultry fashion as the trumpet, piano and drums built around her in a Cuban bolero jazz symphony, eliciting feelings of release and self-expression. As the song climaxed, she took center stage while fanning out the sides of her dress, eventually laying down on the stage. Natalia gave the audience a dramatic and interpretive dance performance. She twisted and turned as if battling something and eventually removed the excessive layers of her dress to come out in a light and simple black camisole dress, symbolizing her transformation.
The third act saw her doing an outfit change, slicking her hair back in a tight bun versus her long and loose thick brown wavy hair, marking the end of her album performance.
She moved on to perform her hit classics “Hasta La Raiz” (To the Root) and “Nunca Es Sufficiente” (It’s Never Enough), which felt more lighthearted and old-school Natalia.
The concert saw its end with her and her band of eight taking a long bow.
The audience roared, finally coming to stand. The lights went up and Natalia waved goodbye. I think what makes Natalia’s music so special is its cultural roots presented to an audience with nuanced taste. She blends the best of Mexican composition with modern beats that make you want to dance but also make you feel.