Mon Laferte

Sola Con Mis Monstruos

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On October 18, Chilean singer/songwriter Mon Laferte performed two acoustic concerts at Mexico City's El Lunario del Auditorio Nacional, accompanied only by her and Sebastian Aracena's guitars. The program on Sola con Mis Monstruos ("Alone with My Monsters") amounts to a career retrospective featuring unplugged versions of songs from her three albums as well as the recent single "Chilango Blues." It also includes a pair of covers offered in tribute: countrywoman Violetta Parra's "El Gavilan," and Édith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose."

Laferte issued the provocative Norma late in 2018, a concept album wherein each song reflected a different aspect of a romantic relationship represented by a different musical genre. Recorded in a single day, it netted her a Latin Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album with its "música cebolla." Literally translated as "onion music," its tunes are all tearjerkers. (The album cover depicted her with a knife and an onion, with a teardrop under her eye.)

Sola con Mis Monstruos is an extension of Norma not by design as much as impact. Given the intimacy of her arrangements and the immediacy of her performance, she addresses her audience directly. The result is a searing, powerful presentation. Opener "Pa’ Dónde Se Fue" is a haunted romantic bolero, followed by "Funeral," a lithe and lyrical song that details a committed relationship in its death throes. "Cumbia Para Olvidar" details the conflicting notions of a woman who wants to leave her lover, overcome by his harsh and hurtful words and actions. The drama is palpable. "Chilango Blues" is actually set as a sultry tango, but it's a gin joint lounge blues nonetheless, judging by its lyric translation: "Cry these blues/At dusk/Between pills and cigarettes/Neon skin/A motel's scent/Can burst all the planets/Let the whole sky bleed…." It's followed by "Quedate, Esta Noche," a brazen but tender mariachi waltz with a moving vocal performance; it drips with passion and desperation. "La Trenza"'s syncopations and guitar interplay are as wondrous and jazzy as Laferte's languid, sensual delivery. Three of the set's last four tracks ("Mi Buen Amor," "Amor Completeo," "Tormento") are Laferte standards, and they're offered passionately with the singer in character. Sola con Mis Monstruos concludes with "La Vie en Rose," a celebration of the beloved that seems to balance the emotional scales from earlier tunes. Laferte has always been accessible to her audiences, but has always had a full band for support. Here, with only Aracena's guitar, she offers fans naked emotional truths through the raw and vulnerable grain in her voice. Laferte instead relies on the crowd to carry her through the most difficult moments here, and they do in spades. Bravo.

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