Show Review: Natalia Lafourcade @ WAMU Theater

Natalia Lafourcade @ WAMU Theater – 12/8/23
Review by Bailey Badlum

Natalia Lafourcade

The night Natalia Lafourcade graced WAMU Theater with her ethereal presence was a night none will soon forget. Seattle was the final stop of her ‘De Todas Las Flores’ 2023 tour, but the real tour on display was not the traversal of miles or destinations reached by the artists on stage – no, the true tour was the audial journey, guided by Natalia and her spectacular ensemble from roots to wingtips of Latin American music: the strumming of culture and traditions from Mexico and Central America, the rhythms of the Caribbean, and the melodies of South America – Latin folk and jazz, son jarocho, cumbia, bossa nova, tango, bolero, just to name a few styles they touched. Presented as a unique and special experience at WAMU, the normally wide-open venue was transformed into an intimate, seated setting that was perfect for immersing the audience in an artful, profound musical space.

The night’s journey began in the first realm, that of her newest album ‘De Todas Las Flores’ – a beautiful musical diary that honors the experiences of life and celebrates the inner garden within each of us. Needing no opening act, the crowd was buzzing and positively erupted when Natalia joined her counterparts on a darkened stage; her petite frame heavily encumbered by a massive black dress as she slowly made her way to a small, humble chair with microphone and a couple classical acoustic guitars. The main light source was the lamp on the table next to her, lending even more raw energy to the intimacy of the moment; every detail had an artistic, deeper meaning below the surface: from her long, untamed hair, to the antiqued furniture, to the gargantuan dress that covered nearly the entirety of the stage (!!) – there was abundance of passion and poetic flair. Natalia herself was basically ‘rooted’ in place, like a tree in the center of a musical ecosystem.

By the time she and her stellar cast of accompanying musicians opened up her musical diary with ‘Vine Solita’, the tone for this realm had already been set: lose yourself in the beauty of nature, find your indigenous ties to the earth, explore love and heartbreak, and learn life lessons from death. They played nearly the entire album, all the while interweaving traditional folklore and mystical tales with beautiful sets such as ‘De todas las flores’, ‘Pasan los dias’, ‘Llevame viento’, ‘Pajarito colibri’, and ‘Caminar bonito’. Finally (and fittingly), she chose to end this realm with the song ‘Muerte’, where she literally shed the mortal coil of her dress – chaining her in place to the stage – and joyfully danced onstage as she broke free of the burden, dying to be reborn.

After a brief intermission and wardrobe change, Natalia returned to the stage with fresh energy and life and thus guided us all into the next realm – the realm of Latin Grammy award-winning hits! Her passionate fans had already been singing/crying along and occasionally dancing in the aisles, but now it was time to unleash and let loose – this was the realm of life and celebration, after all. After playing original songs in the first act, Natalia showed love to her home state with ‘Veracruz’, a song recorded in 2017 after it was devastated by a massive earthquake. She shared her gift for interpreting traditional songs in ‘Cien Anos’ and ‘La Llorona’ before her supporting cast of incredible musicians took their own spotlights and dazzled the audience with solos and duets in ‘Ya no vivo por vivir’, ‘Tu me acostumbraste’, and ‘Soledad y el mar’. Finally, it was time to bring the journey home with the bangers: ‘Hasta la raiz’, ‘Nunca es suficiente’, and ‘Tu si sabes quererme’.

Natalia and the rest of her spectacular cast received a huge ovation from the crowd, and proudly waved a Mexican flag provided by a fan onstage as everyone celebrated the end of an amazing tour. ‘De Todas Las Flores’ was awarded the Latin Grammy for Best Album during their time on the road, only the latest in a string of accolades and accomplishments. Since her breakthrough in 2015 with ‘Hasta La Raiz’, Natalia Lafourcade has become a force for blending contemporary with cultural and bridging the gap between modern sound and traditional technique. Her recorded music — from covers to original material — is a beautiful blend of poetry, meditations, and insightful musings. The warmth and energy flowing through her live music was like listening to a vinyl album, and when combined with the raw power and purity of her voice, she creates a sound that must be appreciated live. Natalia Lafourcade has covered and created music that will outlive everyone that heard her sing at WAMU Theater that night, because she is an irreplaceable piece of the past, present, and future of Latin American music.