Natalia Lafourcade has long been one of Mexico’s most beloved musicians in the folk and rock arena, but last year she doubled down: Musas, her seventh album, was devoted to the traditional folk music she grew up on, taking influence and inspiration from her heritage and sprinkling in covers from legends like Augustín Lara and Roberto Cantoral. (The extended title is, in fact, Musas: Un Homenaje al Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de Los Macorinos, Vol 1.; it was a collaboration with the inveterate folk duo Los Macorinos.)
These influences have always been integral to her music, but her explicitness in celebrating a long, great tradition was rooted in her love of Mexico, and interest in bringing its history to new generations, as she told Jezebel last month. Lafourcade’s music has been widely celebrated in the Latinx/Spanish language realm—she’s racked up several Latin Grammys since her solo debut in 2003, and won the Latin Album of the Year Grammy in 2016 for her heroic, sparkling Hasta la Raiz. But this weekend, a much wider audience will be blessed with her talents when she performs on the Oscars, duetting with Miguel on their rendition of “Remember Me,” the gorgeous single from animated film/tearjerker Coco.
What Lafourcade loved about Coco, she told us, is its emphasis on “being proud of your roots” and how “Mexico was in those days, but also the way we are.” The film’s messaging fit part and parcel with Lafourcade’s mood as of late, bringing the past into the present and honoring national history in a way that was both reverent and instructive.
Lafourcade’s journey into this history continues; earlier this month, she and Los Macarinos released Musas Vol. 2, which furthers the project and expands the inspiration to include the likes of Margarita Lecuona, Atahualpa Yupanqui, and national icon Chavela Vargas, who herself was backed up by Los Macarinos during her long, eventful life.
So when she and Miguel perform on one of the most-watched nights in the world, her fierce love for her home country will be the context and the backdrop. “I didn’t know there was such a great universe in my own country, in my language,” she told Jezebel. “It became something full of richness to me and that put so many beautiful things from my people and my country into my music.”
Video: Producer, Phoebe Bradford