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Silvana Estrada will visit Philadelphia's City Winery on her North American tour on Feb. 23. Photo: Julio Llorente
Silvana Estrada will visit Philadelphia's City Winery on her North American tour on Feb. 23. Photo: Julio Llorente

Silvana Estrada braves heartbreak on debut album, ‘Marchita’

AL DÍA met with the singer-songwriter to discuss her lush 11-track debut.

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On Marchita, the multi-talented Silvana Estrada weaves between a collection of songs teeming with heartbreak and retrospection.

Marchita is the multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter’s debut solo record. 

The project follows 2017’s Lo Sagrado, a collaboration between Estrada and guitarist Charlie Hunter, but Marchita serves as Estrada’s intimate and honest first solo presentation.

Estrada has an above-average understanding of musical instruments. Her parents being luthiers, Silvana grew up around the crafting and repairing of instruments.

Surrounded by music in early life, Estrada — who is from Veracruz, Mexico — would become friends with the Venezuelan cuatro guitar among others. 

Today, Estrada most often plays the four-string instrument, gracing the instrumentals of the artist’s new LP.

Through her debut solo effort, the indie star and guitarist finds herself braving a heartbreak impactful enough to shatter one’s understanding of love itself. 

On Marchita, Estrada picks up the pieces and comes to terms with her own personal understanding of romance and sharing one’s heart.

The cinema of Marchita

Before the record, Marchita was teased by three immersive music videos. Each was directed by Karla Read and Edwin Erazo, with director of photography done by Julio Llorente.

Each music video for Marchita — the title track, “Tristeza,” and “Te Guardo.” — features overarching themes, settings, and visuals. Each is paired with a black and white backdrop, and set in the countryside of the Dominican Republic’s Valle Nuevo National Park.

Estrada views “Marchita” as the song to close out this period of her life examined on the record, a period engulfed and defined by heartsickness. 

In each music video, Estrada explores a wide, sprawling countryside, from running and riding in the backs of trucks as if lost herself and trying to pinpoint the route home, to swimming among fish.

Expect a personal and ambiguous tale told through each music video, as a narrative quietly unfolds through visual storytelling. 

In Spanish, ‘marchita’ translates to ‘withered.’ Many songs on the debut explore the concept of something — once seen as perfect — fading away.

The motif continues as Marchita follows Estrada post-breakup. The record was first conceived when the singer adjusted to the fallout of her aforementioned lost love.

Navigating her way out of this period, Estrada exited with a refreshed sense of musical identity, having emerged from a “poetic revolution” of sorts.

The expressions of Marchita

Photo: Julio Llorente

Estrada's debut was introduced through title track “Marchita” back in July, followed by the stunning and defining “Tristeza.”

News of the debut’s release came packaged with a sobering, hushed re-recording of “Te Guardo.” “Te Guardo” originally appeared on Estrada's 2018 EP, Primeras Canciones.

The reworked tune is more rooted in moments of romance than some other takes on the record, which often analyze events thereafter.

Estrada has been developing this record for some time. In conversation, she explains the album went through some trial phases.

“Marchita, you know, is a long, long story,” said Estrada. “I’ve been developing these songs for a long time now… the first year I was developing Marchita, I didn't actually know that I was doing it. I was just creating songs, new songs, and it was really like a solitary kind of process.”

The recording of Marchita was a solitary process, and one of healing as the songwriter processed lost love in private, finding herself with a collection of songs only thereafter.

“I was just trying to understand my feelings after a breakup, and I was just trying to create music in order to understand what I was feeling,” said Estrada. “After that, I started just thinking… maybe I should record this, or maybe not. I wasn't sure about it.”

The first attempt to record Marchita would become the 2018 EP, Primeras Canciones, further explaining the return of “Te Guardo.”

To Estrada, the EP was work she was proud of, but it wasn’t what she was looking for in a debut record. Estrada recalls “starting from zero” about two years ago, and only realizing how to record Marchita after a visit with her producer and friend, Gustavo Guerrero.

On the finished product, Estrada’s favorite song is “Casa,” an ode to her parents and what they mean to her.

“There’s something about ‘Casa’ that reminds me of the pure sensation of losing somebody or something,” said Estrada. “I talk about my childhood, but I also talk about my parents, or my house, or the countryside. All of these are things that I have been losing.”

“Casa” tells a story from a retrospective point of view, seeing Estrada consider an innocent past now fading, but also the memory that remains.

“Everytime that I come back to my hometown, and I get to see my parents, they are changing so fast. It’s like kids, but the other way,” explained Estrada. “My parents are actually super healthy.”

Estrada’s North America tour
Photo: Julio Llorente

Estrada will be heading on a North American tour this year. The tour began on Thursday, Jan. 27 in Washington, D.C. 

The singer will make her way to Philly on Feb. 23, where she will play at City Winery.

She will be displaying sets of her wondrous songs at each concert. With Marchita’s tracklist, performances will be especially transformative and charmed.

“For me, this album is like a therapeutic journey. In a way, in order to understand sadness, loneliness, and pain,” said Estrada. 

Through Marchita, a journey comes full circle. In the closing track, “La Enfermedad del Siglo,” an instrumental reprise of opener “Mas O Menos Antes” is played on flugelhorn and organ, marking a moment of coming full-circle.

“La Enfermedad del Siglo” translates to “The Disease of the Century,” with the noted disease being love and heartbreak. Estrada explains heartbreak as something more likely to happen in someone’s lifetime than not.

With the somber idea of pained love at play, the lessons heartbreak may teach someone can appear more optimistic than one may imagine.

“[We’re taught] how to be happy. We have a really clear idea about how to be happy, joyful, partying, and celebrating, but we don’t have that clear idea how to be sad or how to be angry, or how to be alone,” said Estrada.

“This album is just trying to understand how to go inside those feelings,” continued Estrada. “In order to heal, you need to understand what’s going on inside you to finally open your heart to a new feeling like happiness, or peace, or calm.”

Tickets are on sale now for Estrada’s North American tour. Full dates for her tour can be found below:

1.27 — City Winery — Washington, DC

1.28 — NC Folk Festival — Greensboro, NC

1.30 — City Winery — Atlanta, GA

2.1 — City Winery — Nashville, TN

2.3 — The Parish — Austin, TX

2.4 — Club Dada — Dallas, TX

2.5 — The Bronze Peacock at HOB — Houston, TX

2.7 — Valley Bar — Phoenix, AZ

2.11 — The Paramount Theatre — Los Angeles, CA

2.12 — Brick & Mortar — San Francisco, CA

2.14 — Doug Fir — Portland, OR

2.15 — The Sunset — Seattle, WA

2.18 — Kilby Court — Salt Lake City, UT

2.19 — Marquis — Denver, CO

2.21 — Music Hall of Williamsburg — Brooklyn, NY

2.23 — City Winery — Philadelphia, PA

2.25 — City Winery — Boston, MA

2.26 — La Sala Rosa — Montreal, QUE

2.27 — Adelaide Hall — Toronto, ONT

3.1 — Turf Club — Minneapolis, MN

3.2 — Schubas — Chicago, IL

Marchita, released through Glassnote Records, is streaming now.

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