At 11, Silvana Estrada built her own jarana, a guitar-shaped instrument from his hometown of Veracruz, Mexico, for a class assignment. “You would think it would be easy for me,” Estrada says. “But it was actually very difficult.”
Easy because his parents are luthiers and, to this day, make and sell instruments for a living in his hometown located in the mountainous region of Veracruz, a port state located in the central eastern part of the country.
“I grew up seeing musicians from all over the world come and buy instruments from my parents,” says the 24-year-old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. “It was amazing to see how people were so grateful and passionate about their instruments. I always knew that music would be part of my daily life, but I didn’t know how at the time.
Although she hasn’t built another instrument since the first, the Mexican artist’s ethereal, almost surreal voice has become her most important and powerful instrument, she admits. Her intense vocal delivery exudes pain, grief and melancholy, creating vivid imagery via poetic lyrics that detail an obtuse love story.
“I feel like I learned to tell stories only through the quality of my voice and to tell the story of who I am only through my voice, even though I also tell a story with words. There is something deeper in the quality of my voice.
It’s something she learned from watching Latin American folk music icons such as Chavela Vargas, Mercedes Sosa and Toña La Negra, calling it a “process of honesty, and sometimes honesty goes a long way.” has to do with vulnerability and vulnerability has a lot to do with courage”. it is therefore this daily journey, that you have to understand who you are and how you want to sing. It’s so precious to me because it’s all my heart and I’m going to put it here for everyone to hear.
Estrada, who has a background in jazz, has been making music and writing songs about love in all its iterations, loneliness and longing for her debut album. Marchita, out Friday (January 21). “When I was writing the album, it was definitely kind of a cathartic process. It was a healing, therapeutic, long, lonely process trying to figure out what was going on with my emotions. Like the first time you feel a pain in the chest after a break up, how is that possible I have to put this into words and music.
Slated for release via Glassnote Records, the 11-track set isn’t technically her first – she released Lo Sagrado in 2017 – but she calls it her “really complete” debut album. “It’s my introduction to the world. It’s who I am today. I wanted to sing these songs alone with instruments (i.e. jarana, Venezuelan cuatro) but the whole album is carried by my voice because I wanted to defend the song with my voice.
The Mexican artist – who has collaborated with revered artists such as Natalia Lafourcade and Jorge Drexler – will continue her US tour on January 27 in Washington, D.C. The 21-date trek will conclude on March 2 in Chicago. See the full list of dates here. She is also currently working on a new EP which will feature Estrada’s brighter side.
“I don’t want to feel this pressure to change the subject from zero to 100. I’ve always written about love because I love it and also because my idea of love is something that’s been changing for a while. . But this “new me” artistically is lighter, brighter and I focus my energy on beauty and a bit of humor, which is new to me.
Below, meet this month’s rising Latin artist:
Last name: Silvana Estrada
Recommended song: “‘Te Guardo’ because it says a lot about who I am and the kind of songs I like to write about love.”
Major Achievement: “Honestly, releasing this really special album is my greatest achievement to date.
And after: “Tour. I absolutely want to visit ‘Marchita’ and bring it to life. I’m also working on an EP that will talk about all the happy songs that I couldn’t add to ‘Marchita’ because they were too happy to be included It’s going to be a nice short album that will bring happiness. After the pandemic, I needed some light in my life. The EP will drop later this year.