There is an indescribable serenity in the gentle plucking of the Venezuelan cuatro as Silvana Estrada cries out and tells stories of the lovers and life experiences that shaped her. Her voice, confident and controlled, carries through the studio, diminishing in sound and rising in intensity. It’s reminiscent of the ranchera singers of old, commanding audiences without a microphone in hand.
Born to a family of musicians and luthiers, Estrada discovered the four-stringed cuatro in her parents’ music studio and instantly fell in love with its sweet sound. The cuatro is a staple of a type of Venezuelan music called “joropo,” but she’s found new and brilliant uses for it in her own music. She studied at a jazz conservatory and learned the standards, but the songs that remind her of her home in Coatepec kept finding their way back to her. Estrada has been compared to everybody from Natalia Lafourcade to Chavela Vargas, and while she undoubtedly matches their passion and intensity, she also brings her own unique sound to the table. Her strong voice and the regal instrument sitting on her lap create a formidable duo, and she’s carving a name for herself in the Mexican canon.
Estrada’s debut album, Marchita, was released on January 22, 2022 to widespread acclaim. We definitely recommend you go listen to it, but before you do, enjoy Silvana Estrada’s Studio 1A performance where she teases a few songs from the album.
Follow Silvana Estrada
Album: Marchita came out 1.22.22
Label: Glassnote Records
From Veracruz, Mexico
- “Te Guardo”
- “Ser De Ti”
Musicians: Silvana Estrada, vocals, cuatro
Producer: Deidre Gott; Host: Laurie Gallardo; Audio: Jake Perlman, Rene Chavez; Cameras: Michael Minasi; Sheryl Wong; Edit: Sheryl Wong