Catalina Maria Johnson

International radio broadcaster, bilingual cultural journalist, music curator

By Catalina Maria Johnson

“I feel like individuals like Agustin Lara.. when they wrote songs about their experiences, evoked really lovely reactions, especially women reacted to them. It happened to me, even though I am from another era and was not born in Agustin Lara’s times”, explains Mexican songstress Natalia Lafourcade who was just awarded two Latin Grammy’s for her latest recording, Mujer Divina, a tribute album to Lara, one of the greatest Mexican composers ever.

Lafourcade was speaking by phone already on tour with “Mujer Divina”, which will also come to Chicago on Sunday at Joe’s Bar. Interestingly, one of the Latin Grammy’s given to “Mujer Divina” was for “Best Alternative Music Album”, and although Lafourcade’s versions are certainly well within an indie and contemporary vein, Lara’s music actually defined an entire era of Twentieth-Century Mexican romanticism with ballads he composed in the 30’s and the 40’s.

Lafourcade explains that she values Lara’s music because his lyrics are sophisticated and beautiful, and contain the essence of “love and loss of love” from a romantic point of view that is difficult to find in today’s times, because “they lived differently then, not at the same pace that we live today.”

Born to a family of musicians and growing up in Veracruz, also Lara’s home state, Lafourcade expresses delight in sharing with great success the maestro’s deep and sweet torch songs. It is music that not only speaks to several generations, but also to Mexicans on both sides of the border, proof of which is that she was recently given the Agustín Lara Award in Los Angeles in recognition of her support of the Mexican arts in the United States.