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Natalia Lafourcade at Santa Monica Pier's Twilight Concert 8/4/16. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE REST OF OUR COVERAGE OF SANTA MONICA PIER’S TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES

I don’t speak Spanish. In fact, I spent years in middle school, high school and college studying French. I’m from Southern California. I really should have learned how to speak Spanish.

When I saw that one of Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concerts featured an evening of Latin Music, I tried my best to find a Spanish speaking correspondent to cover the show. With two latin-Grammy award winning artist’s taking the stage, I thought I could find someone pretty easily. Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules, I … the non Spanish speaking dude … had the task of attending and reviewing the show. It was time for me to do my research.

Natalia Lafourcade. Wow. At 32, Ms. Lafourcade is a pretty big deal. She been nominated for 15 Latin Grammy Awards (winning 8) and 3 Grammy Awards (winning 1). Her most recent album, “Hasta la Raíz” has basically been deemed pop-perfection by critics across the board that transcends artistry by pulling the listener into a Ms. Lafourcade’s emotional journey through song. I would have to take their word for it, as I didn’t have time to find translations of her most popular songs to study, so I went into this show focused on taking in the atmosphere and the pure sonics of the performance.

Natalia Lafourcade at Santa Monica Pier's Twilight Concert 8/4/16. SetlistIf I doubted Ms. Lafourcade popularity in the States, those doubts vanished as soon as she took the stage. The largely latino audience erupted with cheers fitting for the biggest American pop star, shaking the wooden joints of the old pier with its vibrations. Natalia glided to the center of the stage in her free flowing beige dress, her smile beaming in appreciation of the warm reception.

As soon as she started to sing, I immediately fell into a trance-like stage. Her voice had a calming effect on me. She sings with a tender, melodic softness that it felt at times as if she was whispering the lyrics into my ear even though she is singing in front of thousands. Even during her more animated songs, there is just a firm tenderness in her vocal tonality that made me understand why people are drawn to her music.

Sonically, her music, regardless of the language with which she sings in, is pop music by any standards. Similar to the experience I had while listening to Monsieur Periné, I was taken on musical voyage that spanned the pop music gamut. Natalia’s musical journey was that of pop/music themes and vibes: some reggae vibes, some Sade vibes, some 80s pop vibes; some teen pop vibes. It was all there, wrap up with Latin vibes.

Whether Natalia was strapped with a  guitar, seated at the keyboard of standing sans instrument center stage, she had the entire audience wrapped around her finger, hanging on every lyric. I scanned the audience and everywhere I looked young Latinas in the audience were singing along, provided me with yet another moments that made me regret not learning Spanish in my youth.

When the concert curfew (10pm) arrived, and Ms. Lafourcade was ushered off stage, chants of her name “Na-Ta-Lia” began to swell. I almost thought that the producers would accept the city fine to allow her take the stage for an encore to appease her ravenous fans, but that was not the case. If not for the MC quickly thanking the crowd for attending the concert and reminding them of next week’s featured performer, I would have bet money that a mini-riot would have ensued.

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